6 Ways to Stay Active This Winter

By Dr. James Mayne, DC

So winter season is upon us and we are beginning to see the “winter injuries” come rolling in. Sore backs from shovelling and headaches from being inside under artificial light will always come in this time of year. Staying active through the winter months will keep the body moving and strong, helping to avoid winter time suffering.

Think of your body like your car. If it sits idle for too long, its parts will slowly start to seize up. Your body will also seize up if it sits too long. Movement keeps your muscles, bones and joints strong. In fact, winter is a wonderful opportunity to switch up your activities and allow your body to heal from the strain and sprains incurred during the softball, golf, wakeboarding, and tennis season.

Living in the Okanagan gives us so many ways to move and stay active in the winter months. Here are just 6 ways to stay active:

  1. Swimming: Swimming is a great way to get whole body movement and is usually quite gentle on any arthritic joints. It also has the added benefit of sneaking into the sauna or hot tub to warm up before heading back out into the winter air.
  2. Walking: Walking daily is what our bodies were designed to do and few activities beat 45 minutes of walking each day. There are many places to walk indoors, such as the mall or rec center. We are also blessed with snowy trails (like those all over our local ski hill), which, with a pair of show shoes, offer hundreds of kilometers of walking routes.
  3. Skiing: Speaking of our hills, both Sovereign Lake and Silver Star offer world-class skiing opportunities and also offer the added bonus of usually being spectacularly sunny above the clouds!
  4. Skating: Ponds and rinks open up this time of year, and anything from a casual skate to a fast-paced hockey game allow for exercise at all skill levels. Believe it or not, many people with low-back problems get relief from banging around out on the ice as the physical movement flushes out inflammation in the low back and hips.
  5. Weight Training: Lifting weights isn’t just for guys. Pumping iron helps keep the bones and body strong. Also, more muscle means a faster metabolism, which is always good with holiday treats everywhere.
  6. Exercise Classes: Yoga, boot camps, Zumba, pilates, Tai Chi…sooo many to choose from. We get to be social while we strengthen our core and keep our bodies loose and flexible.

Hopefully this list will motivate you to keep active through the winter. It’s our job to get the joints moving well and then encourage people to be active. You won’t know if an exercise is right for you until you try it, so get out and move, but listen to your body. Staying active through the winter ensures that come spring, we can hit the ground running. And isn’t that why we all live in the Okanagan, to be active and play as much as possible?

Now if your neck and back are not letting you play as much as you would like, please give us a call. We would be more than happy to try and figure out what needs to be done to get you out fully enjoying activity again.

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