As the long, hot summer of 2022 quickly turns into a cool, chilly fall, many of us are rethinking our workout plan and wondering how to stay consistent in the cold. If you’re wondering if training in colder climates is okay, or if you’re wondering if being middle-aged might increase your risk of injury on the ice, M&F has you covered and warmly wrapped up. Matthew Accetta, MS, ACSM-CEP, CSCS *D, CSPS earned a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and a Master of Science with Honors in Sports Science, through the study of Exercise Physiology at Hofstra University in Long Island, NY. Accetta now works at the Special Surgery Hospital. His expertise ranges from guiding athletes towards peak performance to providing safe and effective training for people with neurological disorders and special needs.
Accetta is currently certified by the American College of Sports Medicine as a Clinical Exercise Physiologist. Additionally, he is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist with Distinction. We asked him for the cold hard facts about training in dropping temperatures.
Is it a good idea to focus more on warm-ups during colder seasons?
“Warm-up exercises, prior to training in cold weather, provide great benefit as they increase core and muscle temperature, increase neurological and muscle activation, as well as increase blood flow and oxygen uptake. “says Accetta. “Bodyweight exercises such as squats, walking lunges, high knees, and planks are great to include. These exercises help raise body temperature, increase range of motion, and reduce the risk of injury.
What is the ideal garment to wear for training in the cold?
“Studies show that when you’re exercising in the cold, you should wear layers,” says Accetta. “The layer closest to the skin should be tight and wick away moisture…but not so tight that it restricts blood flow. The next layer should provide insulation to preserve body heat. And the outermost layer should allow ventilation and moisture transfer, especially if it’s windy or rainy. Extra gloves and socks should be worn to keep hands and feet warm. A hat or headband is also ideal to prevent heat from radiating and escaping from the head and ears.
Can certain medical conditions be exacerbated by cold training?
“Respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma are exacerbated by cold training because cold air constricts blood vessels in the lungs, disrupting airflow and making breathing difficult,” says Accetta. “Cold weather can also exacerbate autoimmune diseases such as MS or lupus, as the cold puts extra stress on the body and can lead to difficulty moving the arms and legs, as well as muscle spasms.”
Are there common injuries associated with training in colder climates?
“The most common injuries associated with training in cold weather are muscle strains and joint sprains,” Accetta shares. “These often happen when proper warm-up doesn’t take place and joints and muscles don’t have a chance to regain some elasticity, remaining tense and limiting your movement.”
What would you advise someone who suffers one of these injuries?
“If you suffer a sprain or strain while exercising in the cold, you should end your workout immediately,” says Accetta. “You should give the affected area enough time to rest and recover before exercising again. If the affected area begins to swell, you should apply ice in 20 minute increments of 20 minutes walking, 20 minutes rest. Elevation of the affected area is also beneficial to allow the swelling to subside, as gravity can help the inflammation to leave the affected area. If the pain persists, you may wish to schedule an appointment with a doctor.
Why are we more prone to injury as we age in colder conditions?
“As we age, our tendons and ligaments tend to lose their elasticity and strains and sprains are more likely to occur by stretching them too much, and they lack the ability to return to their original length” , explains Accetta. “Furthermore, as we age, the body’s ability to maintain core temperature decreases and therefore the body must work harder to maintain homeostasis, which forces the cardiovascular and respiratory systems to work harder and provide more oxygen-rich blood to working muscles.” .”
How do you keep training and prevent injuries as you get older?
“A lot of times people don’t allow enough recovery time between workouts,” says Accetta. “This can lead to overuse injuries. They often push through these nagging wounds. Also, people often don’t take the time to warm up and cool down properly. »
So what are your “take home” messages for those who want to train in colder climates?
“If you have just started a training program or if you have not exercised for a long time, it is recommended that you seek the help and advice of a health and fitness professional, as well as a ‘get your doctor’s clearance,’ says Accetta. “If you train outside on a cold, rainy day, be sure to wear something that can make you visible to cars and other passers-by, as there may be less light in the evening or other conditions can make you harder to see.. Add reflectors to your bike or wear a high visibility shirt or jacket. It is perfectly fine to train in the cold as long as the proper measures are taken…make sure you that you’re properly dressed and warming up properly. Smart advice! So the good news is that with a little preparation and a little respect for the elements, there’s no reason to give up on your fitness regimen. outdoor fitness this fall.