How To Stay Fit During The Winter... For Free!

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It can be so hard to keep up a fitness routine, especially in the winter! Cold temperatures, inclement weather, bulky clothing and rich foods which decrease our motivation - there are so many reasons why we typically slack on our fitness routine during the winter. Buzzfeed has put together a great list of free, YouTube work out channels that you can use as needed when your time is limited, it’s too cold outside, or the streets are bad (READ IT HERE). Feel free to use these are your primary fitness activities during the winter months or only when needed. I especially like that the list they compiled gives a lot of different options of types of activities as well as options for current fitness levels. 

Some things to keep in mind while you use these videos: 

1) Be careful with yoga. Yoga’s focus on mindfulness, mind-body connection, and breathing is something we love about this school of fitness. However, a lot of our patients are either already overstretched in certain muscles of their bodies, or their musculoskeletal systems are not in the right position to stretch a muscle without risk of injury. If you know you are hypermobile or really flexible, it’s probably a safe bet to NOT use yoga as your go-to fitness routine. Even if you feel like you’re very tight (especially in hip flexors or hamstrings), it’s not always appropriate to stretch these muscles. Sometimes you simply need to reposition areas of the body to allow these muscles to be restored to their normal length-tension ratio in order to assess what its true length is. See either Nancy or Lesley and we can answer this for you!

2) Always wear tennis shoes! Regardless of what the instructors say, most of us do not have perfect feet. Most of us have arches that are too low, some have arches that are too high, some have ankle instability from numerous injuries. Whatever the reason, our feet and ankles are not able to support our foundation and legs appropriately without support. This leads to poor posture above the line and can cause our workouts to be insufficient or possibly lead to injury. Always wear your PRI approved shoes with your orthotics if you have them. 

3) Breathe. When doing difficult activities, it is a normal compensation pattern to hold our breath (also known as a Val Salva Maneuver) to try to stabilize our core. This can not only lead to injury, but will definitely lead to poor form. Always breathe out through your mouth when performing the difficult part of the activity. Some people like to sigh out, count, or say a word to be sure that they are breathing. If you can hear yourself, you are breathing. Be sure to breathe in through your nose to avoid panting and overuse of your neck muscles. 

4) Stay grounded. Since we cannot fly, there is always a part of our bodies touching the ground - our feet, hands, lower back and hips, etc. Be sure to appreciate where the weight is through you body. For the most part, your weight should be through you midfoot and heel, your lower back should be flat on the ground and NOT arch up when doing abdominal work, the weight in your hand should not waiver during your plank. 

If you have any concerns before starting any of these activities or would like some guidance as you progress through them, just ask Lesley and Nancy. That’s what we’re here for!

Written by Lesley Callaham, MPT, PRC on March 5, 2019