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fall prevention at home

Fall Prevention: Fall Risks & Tips in your home

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fall risks prevention tips at home

While falls can happen anywhere, more than half of them happen in the home. One in every three adults 65 and older fall AT HOME each year in the U.S. One of the easiest ways to help prevent a fall is to make sure that certain tripping hazards are addressed and removed. We’ve compiled a short list below to help you get started.

COMMON WARNING SIGNS FOR FALLING ARE:

  • Feeling pain or stiffness when you walk
  • Needing to walk slower or to hold on to things for support
  • Feeling dizzy or unsteady when you get up from your bed or chair
  • Feeling weak in your legs
  • You take more than one medication
  • You have problems seeing
  • You have had at least one fall in the past year

RISKS TO CONSIDER WHEN FALL PROOFING YOUR HOME:

Lighting

  • Is the lighting adequate, especially at night?
  • Are stairwells well lit?
  • Is there a working flashlight in case of power failure?
  • Can lights easily be turned on even before entering
    a dark room?

Surfaces

  • Are there any wet surfaces that are frequently wet?
  • Are steps and stairs in good repair and the
    appropriate rise?
  • Do steps have handrails in good repair?

Trip Hazards

  • Are there throw rugs in the walking path?
  • Does the family pet often sleep in walking paths?
  • Is the carpet in good repair without tears or fraying?
  • Are there extension cords or raised door sills in the walking paths?
  • Is there a clear path from the bed to the bathroom?

If you feel that you are at risk for falls, talk to your physical therapy provider. Most physical therapy clinics offer fall risk assessments that can help determine any areas of risk. By participating in a fall prevention program, you can reduce the likelihood of a fall and increase the ability to live independently. Fall prevention programs mainly focus on core strength, flexibility, and patient education.

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FLYR_FallPrevention_HomeFalls fall risks

For more information about balance and fall prevention click the links below:


fall risks    fall risks
Back Pack Safety

Backpack Safety 101

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Back Pack Safety
With summer coming to an end and the need for school supplies and backpacks returning, here are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping with your child. Continue below for back pack safety tips to make sure your kids don’t have any unnecessary back pain this year.

Size

  • Should Not Extend Above Shoulders
  • Should Rest In Contour Of Low Back (Not Sag Down Toward Buttocks)
  • Should Sit Evenly In Middle Of Back

Fit

  • Shoulder Straps Should Rest Comfortably On Shoulders And Underarms, With Arms Free To Move – Tighten Shoulder Straps To Achieve This Fit
  • Tighten Hip And Waist Straps To Hold Pack Near Body
  • Padded Straps Help Even Pressure Over The Shoulders

ThinkstockPhotos-78779211

Weight Of Pack

  • Should Never Exceed 15% Of The Child’s Weight To Avoid Excess Loads On The Spine

BackPack Weight Charts

Lifting Of Pack

  • Proper Lifting Is Done By Bending The Knees, Squatting To Pack Level, And Keeping Pack Close To Body To Lift First To Waist Level And Then Up To Shoulders

Carrying The Pack

  • Keep Both Shoulder Straps In Place And Pack Centered
  • Spinal Forces Increase With Distance From The Body’s Center

Posture

  • Uneven Stresses On The Spine Can Cause Muscle Imbalances. This Can Lead To Pain And Possibly Functional Scoliosis.

If your child does start to complain of constant back pain, talk to your pediatrician and make sure that it isn’t a more serious issue such as scoliosis.

Scoliosis is a medical condition in which the spine is curved either front to back or side to side and is often rotated to one side or the other. It can occur at birth (congenitally), develop over time having no obvious cause, but often seen related to posture and growth (idiopathically) or due to an injury or the other condition (secondarily), such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. The most common type is adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. It usually develops between the ages of 10 and 15, during periods of rapid growth. There are two kinds of curves, single or “C” curves and double or “S” curves. “C” curves are slightly more common than “S” curves. The curve can occur in the upper back (thoracic), lower back (lumbar), or a combination of both.

Strength for necessary upright postures of daily life is essential. Sometimes it cannot be maintained due to a “growth spurt,” fatigue from daily postural demands or poor postural habits common among adolescents. A physical therapist can analyze a patient’s history, habits and activities which may be contributing to their curvature and symptoms. Common findings include tightness and decreased motion and strength in the hips and pelvis, causing the lumbar spine to compensate with side bending and rotation. Treatment will include muscular re-educating techniques and manual techniques to restore motion, posture training, specific strengthening and home exercises.

Hot Weather Exercise Tips

Hot Weather Exercise Tips

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Hot Weather Exercise Tips

As the temperatures continue to rise, we have decided to put together a few hot weather exercise tips to consider while staying active and for staying hydrated through the summer.

Set your alarm: Sunrise is generally the coolest time of day, so get up and get out early. It may be more humid, but it is generally still hot at sunset because the ground radiates accumulated heat.

Hydrate: It is recommended to drink at least eight ounces of liquids prior to heading outside to exercise and 6-8 ounces of fluids every 15 minutes, switching between water and an electrolyte drink. Remember to drink plenty of fluids post-exercise to speed recovery.

  • Remember to drink water and other fluids throughout the day. Carry a water bottle with you or grab a drink each time you pass a water fountain.
  • Drink 16oz of fluid 2-3 hours before exercise
  • Drink an additional 10oz of fluid 10-20 minutes before exercise
  • Consume 20-40oz of fluid for every hour of exercise
  • Always have water available. Take a bottle to work, the gym or wherever you are headed, and remember to use it.
  • Drink up any time you are in the sun. Just being outside can lead to dehydration
  • Children and the elderly are more susceptible to dehydration
  • Finally don’t rely on thirst as a signal to drink water. Thirst is actually a sign that the body is under stress and by the time you feel thirsty, dehydration has already begun to set in. Other symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth, irritability, headache, weakness, dizziness, cramps, nausea, and fatigue. Even mild dehydration can lead to diminished performance, the elevation of core body temperature, and increased cardiovascular strain.

Acclimatize: It is advisable to gradually build up your tolerance for exercising in warmer conditions

Wear Technical Fabrics: Technical fabrics wick sweat from your body to keep you cool. Also, wear a visor to keep the sun out of your eyes, not a hat, which traps the heat.

Slow Down: For every 5-degree rise in temperature above 60 degrees F, slow down your activity intensity by 5%

Protect: Use sunscreen to protect your skin and prevent sunburn.

Be realistic: Do not overestimate your level of physical fitness; set realistic exercise goals.

What happens if I feel pain after a workout?

Keep in mind that even when you follow these hot weather exercise tips, some discomfort and muscle soreness is to be expected. If your pain does not resolve within a few days, that is when it’s time to ask for help. Your body may be able to accommodate your pain for a short period, but if left alone, you may begin to experience weakness, a lack of flexibility, and even additional injury if your body moves to avoid the pain by overcompensating with other muscle groups. The sooner you ask for help the better. During your physical therapy first visit, we will evaluate your injury and from there we can:

  • Alleviate pain
  • Correct improper movement patterns
  • Correct muscle imbalances through flexibility and strength training
  • Modify training when possible
  • Educate you about faulty or improper posture or body mechanics with training

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office ergonomics

The Ergonomic Workstation

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The Ergonomically correct workstation; Ergonomic workstation set up

Having an ergonomic workstation means that your desk and the things on it are arranged in such a way, that they prevent injury and are well within reach and use. An ergonomic workstation also promotes good posture. Posture is the position in which you hold your body upright against gravity while standing, sitting, or lying down. An ergonomically designed workstation promotes good posture and helps to:

  • Keep bones and joints in the correct alignment so that muscles are being used properly.
  • Help decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in arthritis.
  • Decrease the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together.
  • Prevent the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions.
  • Counter fatigue because muscles are being used more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy.
  • Prevent strain or overuse problems.
  • Avert backache and muscular pain.

Proper ergonomics plays an instrumental role in how effectively you accomplish work and will help prevent suffering from work-related injuries due to strain and overuse. In the diagram below you will find both sitting and standing workstation recommendations to achieve a proper ergonomic workstation.

seated ergonomic workstation: Ergonomic workstation set up

SITTING: Body position guidelines

  • Lower back supported by a lumbar curve
  • Bottom & Thighs distributed pressure
  • ARMS minimal bend at the wrist
  • The area behind the knee not touching the seat
  • Feet flat on the floor or on a footrest
  • Wrists and hands do not rest on sharp or hard edges
  • The telephone should be used with your head upright (not bent) and your shoulders relaxed (not elevated)

 

Standing Ergonomics: Ergonomic workstation set up

STANDING: Working Guidelines

  • Precision Work – above elbow height
  • Light Work – just below elbow height
  • Heavy Work – 4-6 inches below elbow height

 

Setting Up Your Ergonomic Workstation

Video Provided by North Lake Physical Therapy

Physical and occupational therapists have experience working with patients to improve posture and ergonomics. Some clinics have therapists that go into the workplace and arrange a patient’s workplace, making it ergonomically efficient. For more information or to find a therapist near you

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common running injuries

Common Running Injuries

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Physical therapy for runners
Running can be great for your health, but if an injury occurs never be afraid to seek help. The best treatment for injuries for runners is early management and education on self-care specific to the injury. We’ve compiled a list of common running injuries below. If you are experiencing lasting pain that affects your ability to complete your run or activities throughout your day, don’t modify your behavior – talk to your physical therapist.

IT (Iliotibial) Band Syndrome

  • Common Causes: Improper footwear, Increasing mileage and/or intensity too quickly
  • Symptoms: Usually occurs after a short period of running with sharp pain on the outside of the knee

For more information click here

Piriformis Syndrome

  • Common Causes: Increasing mileage and/or intensity too quickly, Poor running mechanics, Usually associated with weak hips and core.
  • Symptoms: Local pain and tightness in the buttock with possible tingling or numbness down the back of the leg. Most noted during prolonged sitting.

Shin Splints

  • Common Causes: Improper footwear, Lack of flexibility in calves, running on hard surfaces
  • Symptoms: Throbbing or aching pain along the front of the shin. Usually occurs during and/or following a prolonged run or walk.

For more information click here

Plantar Fasciitis

  • Common Causes: Improper footwear, Change in running surface, Calf tightness, increasing mileage and/or intensity too quickly
  • Symptoms: Deep ache and/or sharp pain in the bottom of the heel. Most commonly felt in the morning or following prolonged sitting

For more information click here

Runner’s Knee

  • Common Causes: Increasing mileage and/or intensity too quickly, Poor running mechanics
  • Symptoms: Swelling, Aching pain behind and/ or around the kneecap, pain walking up and/or downstairs

Achilles Tendinitis

  • Common Causes: Improper footwear, Increasing mileage and/or intensity too quickly
  • Symptoms: Swelling, painful to the touch, lack of flexibility along the back of the lower leg close to the heel.

For more information click here

 

Avoid Spring Cleaning Injuries

Do’s & Don’ts of Spring Cleaning

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Avoid Spring Cleaning Injuries

It’s that time of year for cleaning out the cobwebs, de-cluttering, and rearranging our homes. Some of us enjoy the task while others dread it. Did you know that the greatest risk of injury we face in our own homes? From muscle strains to home falls there is no shortage of things that can go wrong but we’ve complied a list of tips to help you minimize injury. Follow these spring cleaning safety tips to have a safe and productive spring cleaning!

    • 1. Do not rush because you are tired or in a hurry.

This is really the most basic spring cleaning safety tip, and all the other ones, at least to a certain degree, stem from this one.Spring cleaning can be tiring work. Do not forget safety even if you have worked hard all day and want to get done.The better thing to do when you are exhausted is to stop and take a break, drink a glass of water, sit under a nice cool fan, and rest instead of being unsafe.

    • 2. Be careful moving large pieces of furniture and appliances.

Use proper lifting technique, keeping you back straight and lifting with your legs. Also, wear shoes when moving heavy items so you don’t hurt your toes. Finally, if you feel it is just too heavy and you can’t find someone else to do it for you, just don’t move it. It won’t be the end of the world to just clean around it. Always have spring cleaning safety in mind.

    • 3. Be safe while on ladders and step stools.

When doing a task, such as washing windows, where you need to be on a ladder use extreme caution. Do not lean too far to either side. A good rule of thumb is that your belly button should not go beyond the sides of the ladder. Also, have someone available to hold the ladder steady for you if possible, and make sure before you step on them that the rungs are not wet, and you are wearing non skid shoes.

    • 4. Be careful when walking on wet surfaces.

This spring cleaning safety tip is really important every time you clean. Everyone knows how easy it is to slip on a wet floor. Make sure you take the proper precautions to keep from falling.
Also, make sure others in your family, including children, are also warned of the wet floor to keep them safe. You may need to block small children’s access to wet floors because they just don’t understand not to run and slide on them.

    • 5. Keep stairs, landings, and walkways clear of boxes, bags and other clutter.

Spring cleaning is a great time to de-clutter your home, but you need to make sure all the boxes and bags of stuff you are getting rid of don’t cause a safety concern. Make sure you place them outside walkways and especially away from steps and stairs where someone may trip on them.

    • 6. Don’t carry too much stuff at once, especially on stairs.

During spring cleaning you will also probably go up and down your stairs a lot carrying things if you live in a home with stairs. Make sure you keep a hand free to hold onto the stair railing. Also, whether you have stairs or not, always make sure you can see over the load you are carrying so you do not trip.

If you are experiencing pain or injury please reach out to a physical therapist. They can evaluate your pain and provide corrective action to help you feel great!

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sports medicine physical therapy

The Role of Physical Therapy in Sports Medicine

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Physical therapy in sports medicine; physical therapy for athletes and physical therapy for sports injuries.

Sports medicine through physical therapy comes in many forms. Many clinics keep licensed athletic trainers on staff that will go on-site to schools and other sporting events to act as an initial caregiver at the time of an injury. If an injury occurs, you may be referred to physical therapy. From there, your physical therapist will have an array of different programs tailored to your specific type of injury, the severity of the injury, and your fitness level. However, you don’t have to wait until you have an injury to get help from a physical therapist. Sometimes the best medicine is prevention.

WHEN YOUR BODY EXPERIENCES PAIN:

  • It’s telling you that something is wrong
  • Your body can accommodate the pain, but eventually, a breakdown will happen
  • While you accommodate to your pain, weakness and stiffness begins
  • Once you have a breakdown, pain will happen and more than likely you will stop training

Some ways physical therapists help athletes from experiencing an injury:

Sports Injury Prevention Programs: Physical Therapists offer classes and/or programs geared to specific injuries. Commonly offered programs are geared towards ACL Injury prevention, Golf Strengthening (TPI), Running Injuries, and more.

Gait Analysis for runners: A three-dimensional video assessment of a runner’s biomechanics using a state-of-the-art motion analysis system. See yourself run at variable speeds from five different camera angles. An athlete can learn how to prevent injuries and improve performance through increased cadence and strengthening/stretching.

Functional Movement Screenings (FMS): One way to determine physical weaknesses is to perform the Functional Movement Screen. FMS is an innovative system used to evaluate movement pattern quality for clients and athletes. The functional movement screen is used to identify and correct weaknesses in the movement and strength of athletes.

ONCE AN ATHLETE DOES EXPERIENCE AN INJURY, PHYSICAL THERAPY MAY INCLUDE:

  • Education on faulty or improper posture or body mechanics with training
  • Education and help with technique on exercises that help your muscles stretch farther
  • Flexibility training helps prevent cramps, stiffness, and injuries, and can give you a wider range of motion
  • Correction of muscle imbalances through flexibility and strength training
  • Endurance training
  • Kinesiotaping
  • Alleviation of pain
  • Correction of improper movement patterns

If you are in need of sports medicine physical therapy, we have licensed professionals throughout the country.

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snow shoveling safety tips

Snow Shoveling Safety Tips

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snow shoveling safety tips

Snow Shoveling: A common cause of soft tissue injuries & low back pain

An average of 11,500 people are treated at emergency rooms for injuries and medical emergencies related to snow shoveling each year, according to a report released Jan. 17 by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.  Data from between 1990 and 2006 shows the majority of the injuries were soft-tissue injuries, with the lower back being affected 34 percent of the time. Acute musculoskeletal exertion was the cause of injury in 54 percent of the cases, followed by slips and falls (20 percent) and being struck by a snow shovel (15 percent).  Study authors recommended individuals talk to their doctor before shoveling snow, particularly those who do not exercise regularly, have a medical condition or are in a high-risk group. They also recommended alternative snow removal methods.

Clearing snow & Ice

Clearing snow and ice from driveways and sidewalks is hard work. To prevent injuries, follow these safety tips from the National Safety Council, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and other prevention organizations.

  • Dress warmly, paying special attention to feet, hands, nose,
    and ears.
  • Avoid shoveling snow if you are out of shape. If you have a history of heart trouble, do not shovel snow unless your doctor says it’s okay.
  • Do light warm-up exercises before shoveling and take
    frequent breaks.
  • If possible, push snow in front of you. If you have to lift it, pick up small amounts and lift with your legs, not your back. Do not toss snow over your shoulder or to the side.

Use ergonomic lifting technique

Whenever possible, push the snow to one side rather than lifting it. When lifting the snow shovel is necessary, make sure to use ergonomic lifting techniques.

  • Always face towards the object you intend to lift (ie have your shoulders and hips both squarely facing it)
  • Bend at the hips, not the low back, and push the chest out, pointing forward. Then, bend your knees and lift with your leg muscles, keeping your back straight
  • Keep your loads light and do not lift an object that is too heavy
    for you
  • If you must lift a shovel full, grip the shovel with one hand as close to the blade as comfortably possible and the other hand on the handle (handle and arm length will vary the technique)
  • Avoid twisting the back to move your object to its new location – always pivot your whole body to face the new direction
  • Keep the heaviest part of the object close to your body at your center of gravity – do not extend your arms to throw the snow
  • Walk to the new location to deposit the item rather than reaching or tossing

Video provided by the Center for Physical Rehabilitation with locations throughout Grand Rapids, MI. Check them out online here.

snow shoveling safety tips PTandMe

SENIORS NOTE:

Whenever possible, avoid shoveling snow first thing in the morning. If this is not an option, a proper indoor warm-up will prepare the body for additional activity. Jogging in place, or using a treadmill or stationary bike for 5-10 minutes are options for safely raising the heart rate while in a neutral temperature. As with any exercise, drinking lots of fluids will help maintain electrolyte balance and prevent fluid loss.

 

For more cold weather safety tips to keep you out of harm’s way this winter check the articles below!

Staying Warm in Winter PTandMe  Winter Safety PTandMe  

 

Need help from a physical therapist?

We work with expert teams around the country to make sure you have access to the best care possible.

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Training Injuries

Improper Exercise Leads to Training Injuries

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Training Injuries

The amount of physical activity you need depends on your individual fitness goals and your current fitness level.  It’s important to start within your abilities and to listen to your body’s cues in terms of pain and injury. If you experience a training injury and your body starts to ache past the point of normal muscle soreness, your body is trying to tell you that something is wrong.  For a short time, you’ll be able to push through the ache, but eventually, a breakdown will happen, and weakness and lack of flexibility will begin. Once you have a breakdown, the pain will happen and more than likely you will stop training. We want to help you before you get to a breakdown.

Training Injuries

Training injuries can be sustained from weight training, martial arts training, and sport-specific training. Common injuries include:

  • Strain/Sprain (commonly called a pulled muscle)
  • Tendinitis,  Back/Neck Pain, Tennis Elbow (Inflammation of the tendon fibers that attach the forearm extensor muscles to the outside of the elbow).
  • Carpal Tunnel: Numbness, tingling, or a dull sensation of the thumb, index finger, and middle fingers due to compression to the median nerve in your wrist.
  • Muscle Tear/Rupture
  • Separated or Dislocated Joint (shoulder, hip, knee)
  • Bursitis: Tightness in the hip or pain radiating down the lateral thigh contusion

Running Injuries

Overuse musculoskeletal injuries occur frequently in runners. Proper stretching and training principles can reduce your risk of developing a running injury.

  • Shin Splints: An overuse injury of the anterior or posterior tibialis muscles, characterized by pain or soreness down either side of the shin. Technically, this condition is tendinitis or inflammation of the tendons/muscles that attach to the tibia.
  • Achilles Tendinitis: Inflammation of the Achilles Tendon with possible thickening or thinning of the tendon and associated with pain resulting from overuse, overstretch, or poor flexibility. Hills or jumping activity will exacerbate this condition.
  • Plantar Fasciitis: Inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is the connective tissue supporting the arch of the foot. There may be point tenderness at the heel and arch.  This condition usually occurs with increased mileage or won/unsupported shoes. This condition may lead to heel spurs.

Prevent Injury While you Train

Injury can happen at any time, but there are steps you can take before during, and after your run to help prevent long-term pain. Prior to your run allow yourself at least a five-minute warm-up.  Suggestions include jumping rope, jumping jacks, light jogging, or a combination. After your warm-up takes the time to gently stretch your muscles.  Remember not to bounce.

While you are training it is important to use the proper equipment. This includes shoes for your foot type (high arch, flat foot, neutral foot), comfortable clothing, and appropriate socks. If the shoe is fitted to your foot, you will need to change running shoes every 400 miles. Even sooner if wear has occurred to the foot platform. Also make sure to change the running path often, aka different locations, terrains, surfaces, and directions.  Cross-training is also important.  We recommend using a Stairmaster or elliptical trainer, biking, swimming, yoga, Pilates. After a run, it is important to cool down with more intense stretching than the warm-up.

How Physical Therapy Can Help

TRAINING ASSESSMENTS

  • Educate on faulty or improper posture or body mechanics with training
  • Educate and help with techniques on exercises that help your muscles stretch farther. Flexibility training helps prevent cramps, stiffness, and injuries and can give a wider range of motion.
  • Correct muscle imbalances through flexibility and strength training
  • Endurance training
  • Alleviate pain
  • Correct improper movement patterns

RUNNING ASSESSMENTS

  • Modify training when you have a minor ache and pain (This does not always mean you need to stop training)
  • Get assessed for weakness and flexibility issues to address biomechanical deficits.  A therapist can videotape your running to look for biomechanical deficits that you may have while running
  • Look at foot mechanics for proper shoe type, stability, motion control, and neutral/cushion shoes

Find a PT

We have talented teams of physical therapists throughout the U.S. that can help you get the care you need.  Whether you need training injury prevention or recovery, our specialists have the skills and know-how to get you back to your workout routine or sport safely.

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cold weather exercise tips

Cold Weather Exercise Tips: Running Safety

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Cold temperatures and decreasing daylight hours do not mean that your outdoor running routine has to go into hibernation for the winter. Running through the cold weather can ease the winter doldrums, improve your energy level and help you to be in better shape for the spring/summer. However, it is important to follow our PTandMe cold-weather exercise tips to run safely and comfortably through wintry weather.

  • Pay attention to temperature and wind chill: If the temperature drops below zero F or the wind chill is below -20F, you should hit the treadmill.
  • Protect your hands and feet: It is estimated that as much as 30% of your body heat escapes through your hands and feet.
  • Dress in layers: It is important to start with a thin layer of synthetic material such as polypropylene, which wicks sweat away from your body. stay away from cotton as a base layer as it holds moisture and will keep you wet. If it is really cold out, you will need a middle layer, such as polar fleece for added insulation.
  • Avoid overdressing: You should feel a slight chill off your body the first 5 minutes of winter running; after that, you should warm-up.
  • Protect your head:  Wearing a hat that will help prevent heat loss is very important.
  • Do not stay in wet clothes: If you get wet from rain, snow or even from sweat in chilly temperatures, you are at risk for hypothermia. It is important that you change wet clothing immediately and get to warm shelter as quickly as possible.
  • Stay hydrated: Despite the cool weather, you will still heat up and loos fluids through sweat. The cool air also has a drying effect, which can increase the risk of dehydration. Make sure you drink water or sports drinks before, during and after you run.
  • Remember sunscreen: Sunburn is still possible in the winter. It is also important to protect your lips with lip balm.
  • Take it easy when it is frigid: The colder the temperature becomes, the greater your risk for a pulled muscle when running in the cold, so warm up slowly and run easily on very cold days.
  • Run in the wind: If at all possible, head out into the wind, so that on your return run, the wind will be at your back when you are sweaty and could catch a chill.

Looking for help with a nagging injury? Find a physical therapist near you.

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For more cold-weather exercise tips to keep you safe this winter check out the articles below!

Staying Warm in Winter PTandMe  Winter Safety PTandMe  Snow Shoveling Safety PTandMe