Winterproofing Your Body

As we come into the winter months, the weather (including everything from icy sidewalks to colder weather to snowy weekends) can have a huge impact on our body. Not only is it tough to maintain the same level of activity compared to when it's nice outside, but there is also a higher risk of falling or overexerting ourselves trying to deal with it.  Today we'll discuss the importance of sticking with your exercise routine in order to Winterproof your body.

Why should I keep exercising?

I get it and have fallen victim to it plenty of times....It's nasty outside, cold temp, blistering winds, maybe even some snow or ice. It's much easier to give in to that cozy couch with a blanket than to throw on all the winter gear and head to the gym.

But as I've discussed in previous Newsletters (link), the adaptations that occur through exercise happen over time and with consistency, meaning that you can't just exercise in the summer and stop until it's nice again.  Unfortunately the body doesn't work like that.  The muscles need a progressive stimulus (resistance) over a period of time in order to respond or adapt.  So in order to keep the muscular system functioning optimally, you'll have to keep exercising/resistance training consistently week to week. And yes, even during the winter months.  

What happens if you don't?

The body is great at maintaining status quo or 'homeostasis'. If you're providing your muscular system with the proper stimulus, then you will get stronger and keep your joints healthy, plus the multitude of other benefits that come with strength training (link).  

When you don't provide that stimulus, then your muscular system will start to regress.  The effects of this will vary from person to person, but might include increased fatigue doing menial tasks, joint aches, muscle tightness, higher risk of injury, and a wide range of other symptoms.  So pretty important to maintain!  

Not to mention your body may not be able to recover from a fall or slip on the ice as quickly if it's not already strong and conditioned. A well trained individual will be better able to handle the impact of a fall than an untrained, de-conditioned individual. And this includes not only the immediate impact (stronger, can handle more force), but also dealing with the longer term effects (better recovery mechanisms).

So as winter comes, stick to your workout routine and your body will thank you. It will make it much easier to get through, not only from the increased energy and mood benefits, but if anything were to happen in the slick conditions, your body will be better able to handle it.  Stay safe out there!