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Are you Winter ready?

By Paddy Sullivan on March 24, 2016

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Summer has only just retired, but already pre-season winter sport trainings are out of the starter blocks.

The question is… are you ready and set to go too?

Now is the perfect time to start preparing your body for winter sports to reduce injury and unwanted muscle pain, and to prevent illness.

As we well know in our sports-focused nation, wintry conditions are no barrier to exercising. All that is needed is good preparation. Exercising in cold weather no doubt places extra demands on the body, which can lead to reduced sporting performance and an increased chance of injury (and illness). But, the good news is that most cold-related injuries can be prevented with good preparation.

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There are things the All About Health and Wellness team can help you with in the lead up to your full immersion in winter sports.

* There are specific sport-related exercises that will be beneficial to your pre-season training. It is important to warm up, stretch and cool down for longer than usual, as cold muscles, tendons and ligaments are at greater risk of injury. See us for stretching advice specific to your needs. There’s great value in receiving such individual advice, as generic information is not always effective. For example, the needs of an 80 year-old golfer will tend to be different from those of a 15 year old rugby player!

* Strapping and bracing have key roles to play in the prevention of injuries as they maintain a stable position of bones and muscles. Strapping/taping is most often used to help recover from overuse and other injuries, yet it is also valuable as an injury preventer as recent research shows. A study in Sweden, for example, analysed the benefits of strapping the ankles of one group of basketballers competing at top league level over a season. Others in the same group were left with ankles unstrapped. The results showed that players were 60 per cent less likely to sustain an ankle injury if they had opted to have their ankles strapped as a preventative measure. Strapping is not, therefore, simply there as an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff once the damage has already been done.

Of course we can provide that ‘ambulance’ service too – we are also here to help you out if you are heading into winter sport with some extra injury baggage from summer.

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* Nutritional advice. Be mindful that winter sport preparation is not just about what we do with our bodies; it’s what we put into them. It’s an optimum time to recognise, and act on the fact, that various vitamins have a key role to play in immunity boosting and seasonal nutritional requirements in general.

A website we often like to refer to is www.nutritionfacts.org. Among the many wisdoms (including those of a medical doctor who researches nutritional medication) to be gleaned from this site is the message that moderate exercise improves immunity and decreases illness rates.

Scientific-based literature also tells us that if you do a little bit of exercise you are stimulating your immune response; if your exercise programme involves too much sustained and intense exertion you could in fact be inhibiting/reducing your immune response. Overtraining may actually put excessive stress on your body and increase your risk of infection. The result of that can be lost training days and a less-than-optimum performance.

So how can we fight off sickness and continue to train? There is a need to think nutrition in relation to your immune system. There will be the need to compensate, and a great way to do so is via a recommended nutritional intake. There are various superfoods available to do just this. An example of one of them is nutritional yeast. This is high in the B vitamins (B6, B12, B9) and is also a good source of protein, magnesium and zinc. Come and have a chat and we can advise which immunity boosting option will best suit your individual needs, and in what therapeutic dose. It’s important to ensure that you are not only investing in the product best for you, but the correct therapeutic dose too.

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Other tips to assist your pre-season training:

* Dress in layers to trap heat and prevent heat loss. Add or remove layers of clothing as necessary according to exercise level/conditions

* You can protect your body further by making sure you wear the right protective gear for your winter sports

Enjoy winter sport activities to the fullest, with adrenaline, strength, stamina and of course remaining injury-free.

Give us a call, so we can have you poised at that winter sport starting line, ready to excel and enjoy.

John Haywood

Patricia Sullivan

101 Churchill Drive Crofton Downs

Ph: 04 479 2800

Or 0800 200 299

www.allabouthealth.co.nz

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