Winter recreational activities can pose painful problems for the outdoor enthusiast who is not in the best condition. Preparing your body before participating in winter sports such as snowboarding, skiing or ice-skating decreases the potential for spasms, strains and sprains, according to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA).
In freezing weather, muscles and blood vessels contract to conserve the body's heat, reducing blood supply to extremities and lowering the functional capacity of many muscles. This makes warming up essential.
ACA offers the following guidance on what to do before and after popular winter activities:
• Prior to skiing, snowboarding, ice-skating or sledding, start your warm-up with 10 to 15 squats. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart and your knees aligned over your feet, and then bend your knees. Your body should make a 90 degree angle; your buttocks should not hit the floor. Stand up straight again.
• Next, do several lunges. Take a giant step with one foot. Let your back knee come down to the floor while keeping your shoulders in position over your hips. Repeat the process with your other foot.
• Lastly, do 10 to 15 jumping jacks. Stand up straight, jump and meet your hands to one another above your head as you spread your feet apart larger than the width of your body. Then drop your arms to your sides while bringing your feet together. Repeat the process.
• Don't forget to cool down after your activities. Doing the same warm-up exercises for your cool-down routine is recommended.
• If you would prefer exercises specific to your activity, visit a local chiropractor who can help you create an individual exercise plan.
If you feel soreness, pain or strain after winter activities, it may be time to visit a doctor of chiropractic (DC). Chiropractors practice a hands-on, drug-free approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment. In addition to their expertise in spinal manipulation, DCs have broad diagnostic skills and are trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, as well as to provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling. According to a recent Gallup survey, more than 35 million people visited a chiropractor in the past year.