Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you should hang up your running shoes until the first thaw of spring. The winter months just mean that extra care should be taken to keep your body fit and healthy even in punishing conditions.
Image from Wikipedia
Follow the advice below and keep your body in tip-top shape ready for the more clement weather of spring and summer. Do it right and you might even enjoy yourself at the same time!
Slips, trips and falls
Winter weather brings with it an increase in the likelihood of injury. This does not just apply to joggers, but to anyone brave enough to venture out into it. The fact is; low-light plus wet or icy surfaces makes it a heck of a lot easier to fall down!
Dodgy conditions make it easier to take a tumble! Image from Wikipedia
The first thing to do to avoid a fall is to invest in some ice-grippers. These handy accessories slip over your running shoes and increase traction when you’re running over icy ground. This can be the difference between a satisfying run and a nasty fall.
Poor winter light and an excess of detritus – such as fallen snow or dead leaves – on the ground can pose their own hazards. Spraining your ankle over a concealed stone or in a pothole is no joke at the best of times, never mind when the temperatures are plummeting and daylight time is at a premium, so always remember to concentrate extra hard when running in winter, and maybe ease off the pace a little.
After a few minutes of running in the cold your body temperature naturally rises to a comfortable level, so it’s tempting to eschew warm, winter-protective clothing in favour of something more airy. However, doing so can have a serious effect on your health.
Image from Wikipedia
Invest in a light-weight waterproof jacket which doesn’t inhibit your running motion. This will protect your body from the elements without causing you to overheat. Also, a pair of light-weight gloves and a peaked cap may come in handy to protect your extremities from the worst of the winter weather.
If you’re embarking on a long run, remember to take an additional layer, either in a running backpack or tied around your waist. If you get injured and are unable to run, this will keep you warm while you get to safety.
Recovering from injury
It is an unfortunate fact that injuries are not only more common in the winter months, but can also take longer to heal. The important thing here is to listen to your body. Don’t exacerbate an injury by persevering and running on it through the pain, it’s simply not worth it. Take the necessary recuperation time and you will avoid a lengthy lay off.
Image courtesy of Chrstphre, Flickr
If you get a muscle injury over winter, treat it using an elasticated bandage. These bandages fit snugly onto a leg or arm and can keep the muscle compressed, reducing swelling and recovery time. Remember the acronym, RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation.
If problems persist with your injury, consult a professional.
Dark nights and poor conditions make it harder to see and be seen. For drivers, the winter months provide many hazards which make it harder to avoid a collision and more difficult to bring their vehicle to a safe stop.
Image from Pixabay
With this in mind it’s vital to exercise caution when running on the road in winter. Always wear a fluorescent jacket or other brightly coloured clothing which will make you obvious to other road users. If you’re running at night you may also want to attach reflective tape to your running clothes, or run with a head-torch.
When running on or across roads, it’s always advisable to look both ways and to proceed with caution. This is all the more true in winter. Don’t just assume that a driver has seen you; be cautious and alert and don’t put yourself or others in danger.
You might have noticed a common thread running through this article: stay aware, stay careful and stay safe! Always remember to keep your wits about you when you go jogging this winter, and keep yourself healthy and happy for when the sun shines once again!