Exercise Wellness: In the Cold, During Pregnancy and Weight Lifting Safety
In this series:
Exercising in the Cold
While it is important to stay active year-round to maintain a healthy lifestyle, there are certain things to keep in mind to remain safe and avoid injury when exercising during the cold, winter months. Hypothermia is a serious condition to watch for and catch early. It occurs when the body’s temperature drops below 95 degrees, and if not treated, can result in death.
To prevent hypothermia, stay dry, wear proper clothing (such as coats, gloves, and hats), and take frequent breaks from the cold to warm up. Shivering is one of the early signs of hypothermia and should be your cue to get out of the cold and let your body recover before continuing activity. As hypothermia progresses, the signs will be harder to recognize, which is why it’s important to act quickly.
For those who suffer from asthma or a respiratory disorder, exercising in the cold can cause them to experience shortness of breath, wheeziness or other asthma symptoms. This is known as exercise-induced or cold-induced asthma and is caused by the cold, dry air. If you experience these symptoms, talk to your primary care physician about preventative treatments.
Evan Corey, MD, is a sports medicine specialist at Cone Health Primary Care at MedCenter Kernersville and a member of Cone Health Medical Group.
Before, During & After Pregnancy
Exercise plays an integral role in maintaining overall well-being, especially for expectant and new mothers. Working with your primary care physician or your OB/GYN to establish healthy diet and exercise habits before you get pregnant can help set a good foundation for health. Having those habits already in place will help you maintain them throughout your pregnancy. Incorporating fitness into a regular routine during pregnancy can help reduce your risk for gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, ease back pain, decrease constipation and aid in a quicker recovery after childbirth.
Exercising during pregnancy has many benefits, including helping you maintain a healthy weight. It’s always important to talk to your doctor about what’s best for you, but most women with low-risk pregnancies can exercise normally. Common routines like running, yoga, Pilates or weight training are okay to practice during pregnancy, but all women should avoid contact sports or exercises where they are likely to fall or get injured. Be mindful while you exercise. Pay attention to what your body is doing and where you are going to avoid injury. If you start to cramp, or experience bleeding or headaches, you may be pushing yourself too hard and need to slow down. Be careful about overheating while you’re pregnant and don’t forget to drink plenty of water.
Jennifer Ozan, DO, is an OB/GYN in the Triad and a member of the Cone Health medical staff.
Weight Lifting Safety
Consistent exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but it can be hard to know where to begin. There are many exercise options available for people of all skill levels, from beginners to experienced athletes, and it’s important to pick something appropriate for your skill level. If you’ve never followed an exercise plan before, meeting with a personal trainer can help you develop a routine that fits your lifestyle and preferences. They can also help you understand the right techniques to use to avoid injury.
Weight training is a common form of exercise that can be easily adapted to any level of expertise. When you start a new routine, it’s important to start slow and at a lighter weight until you get comfortable with the exercise. Trying to push yourself too hard too quickly is an easy way to get hurt. As you get stronger, you can slowly increase the weight or number of repetitions. Good form is a key component to avoiding injury, as incorrect body mechanics can cause strain and injury.
CrossFit is a popular fitness program right now that focuses on high-intensity weight lifting and exercise. Some of the most common injuries we see from CrossFit participants involve the shoulder, wrist or lower back. Some of these injuries stem from overuse and working out too much, but others are caused by incorrect form. The CrossFit program is safe to use, but as with all exercise, when proper form isn’t followed it can harm the body.
Jason Rogers, MD, is an orthopedic surgeon in the Triad and a member of Cone Health medical staff.