Local physical therapist gives tips for exercising in cold weather

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — People do not need to move their workouts inside when the weather gets cold. In fact, keeping your outdoor running routine can give you a boost of vitamin D and help fight the winter blues.

Physical Therapist and CEO of Body Works in Beckley, Mick Bates, said it is all about preparation.

“You want to cover up your extremities because when you run or exercise your body takes all that blood flow centrally back to your core, to your heart and your lungs,” Bates said. “Your fingertips, your nose, your ears… those parts of your body need to be covered and the top of your head needs to be covered.”

Bates recommended wearing layers and dressing as if it is 10 to 20 degrees warmer because your body will heat up as you go.

Before you hit the pavement, Bates also said it is crucial to make sure your muscles are warmed up to avoid injury. He said you should stretch and walk at least a quarter of a mile before running.

“Your muscles have decreased blood flow to them and if you ask them to work at a high level you can damage those tissues,” said Bates. “You can damage the tendons or the muscle belly itself. That’s the biggest concern that you would have if you try to exercise vigorously outside in cold conditions before stretching appropriately.”

Bates said people can minimize discomfort in their lungs with controlled, steady breathing. Also, while you might not sweat as much in the cold, hydration is still key.

“Even if you don’t notice the perspiration you’re losing those fluids as you exercise so those fluids need to be replenished on a consistent regular basis,” said Bates.

With these tips, people will not have to put their fitness goals on ice.

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