Manning Regional Healthcare Center
Stay Healty and Active During the Winter Months
Winter is here, and it is important to keep our ourselves flexible and healthy while it is cold outside. People tend to spend more time indoors during the winter, so there is a tendency to lose flexibility for some. Adults still need at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. A combination of stretching, endurance exercise, and strengthening will help keep you flexible and feeling good.
Stretches that will help include stretching the hamstrings, the lower back muscles and the shoulders. Some examples would be sitting or standing hamstring stretches, pulling one or both knees towards your chest to stretch the lumbar muscles, and supine shoulder flexion stretches, and posterior capsule stretches for the shoulders. (Check out the MRHC Facebook page for video tutorials of over 30 stretches. Click on videos and look for the Physical Therapy: Stretching Demonstrations playlist.) When stretching, it is recommended to hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds, three to five times each.
If you are beginning an exercise program to increase endurance and strength, consult with your medical provider first to make sure you are healthy enough to begin the specific program. For indoor physical activity that increases endurance, gradually build up to 30 minutes of an activity that makes you breathe hard, and perform that activity at least three to five times per week. Try to combine strengthening and endurance exercises. Examples include lifting weights, climbing stairs, lifting children, or going to the gym to play basketball, racquetball, volleyball or swim. If the gym has a walking track, that is a good option as well. Indoor workout videos are another alternative, as is your underutilized stationary bike or treadmill.
Finally, remember that for good health at any time of the year, it is important drink water to keep your muscles hydrated, eat healthy, and get plenty of sleep. Let’s make the best out of the upcoming winter months, and as always, if you are suffering from back pain, muscle strains or sprains, or a sports injury, the physical therapy department can help in your recovery process and get you back on track. Call (712) 655-2072 to schedule an appointment.