Health and Fitness: Tips to keep moving when injuries and cold weather hit

CHILL FACTOR: Exercising through autumn and winter can be invigorating but there are some considerations to think about before stepping outside.
CHILL FACTOR: Exercising through autumn and winter can be invigorating but there are some considerations to think about before stepping outside.

For the past few months, along with a group of friends and half of the Newcastle running community, I have been preparing for the Ultra Trail Australia run at the Blue Mountains this week.

I am only doing the “little” 22-kilometre event - there are also 50km and 100km options – and preparation is always the key.

It doesn’t matter how far your event is, if you haven’t put the work in beforehand then race day is likely to be much more of a struggle than if you have.

But training does not always go to plan and there are factors that can derail it.

One of those is the weather. You might start out gung-ho in the warmer months but a cold snap, like the one we experienced over the weekend, really thins out the crowds along the Merewether to Nobbys stretch.

Training outdoors when winter hits can be a struggle but does have benefits. Once you get going and are warmed up, it can be much more pleasant than training in the heat but there are a few things to consider:

  • Hydration: In the cold you might not feel as thirsty as in the warmer months but it’s important to make sure you still put back what you lose working out.
  • Layers: A few items of clothing are a good idea when it’s chilly. Shed layers as you warm up. 
  • Warm up: Warming up before any activity is recommended and when the weather is colder you might need to extend your warm-up time so your muscles are ready to go before you get stuck right in.

The other thing that can derail training at any time is injuries.

Injuries are frustrating and can get you down, but they do not always mean you have to stop training altogether.

Ethos Health physiotherapist Dave Naylor suggested seeking professional advice as a first step.

“You’ll get a diagnosis of what you’ve done, how long you may be expected to be sidelined and, most importantly, what you can do to get you back to training and competing sooner rather than later,” Naylor said. “And that doesn’t mean just sitting around doing nothing and waiting for your injury to heal. 

“Staying active, especially after you’re injured, is extremely important in getting you back on your feet and back to your chosen sport.

“Keeping active can aid recovery, allow you to maintain your fitness, and keep you healthy from a general well-being point of view.  

“The trick is finding the right type of activity and movements you can do that doesn’t make your injury worse. If you’ve got a leg injury, you can usually continue to exercise your upper body and core.

“There’ll also be exercises you can do to help your injured body part. But maintaining normal training for your uninjured body parts can also have a number of benefits.”

If you have a knee injury, for example, he suggested performing other non-load bearing activities such as swimming, cycling or deep water running to help maintain cardiovascular fitness.

BRAVING IT: Cold weather does not stop the diehards at Newcastle Ocean Baths. Swimming could also help you stay active through injury. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

BRAVING IT: Cold weather does not stop the diehards at Newcastle Ocean Baths. Swimming could also help you stay active through injury. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Upcoming Fitness Events

Memory Walk & Jog, Speers Point, May 20: Raising funds for Dementia Australia, the event offers options of a 2km walk, 7.5 km walk and 7.5km run.

Free lunchtime yoga, Civic Park, May 22 at 12.30pm: Revitalising Newcastle are hosting free yoga in the park. Mats will be provided for a gentle 45-minute session and all are welcome.

Tread Together, Anytime Fitness Newcastle West, May 25 at 3pm: A 24-hour fundraiser for Suicide Prevention Australia. Members and non-members can pre-register to be sponsored to run or walk on a treadmill for as little as 15 minutes.

Autumn Workouts #Week 10

Break up the monotony of your workouts by combining some flat intervals with stairs and/or hills plus some strength sets. Firstly, source a location that will offer you different options. Foreshore Park and King Edward Park are such places, with hills, flat sections and stairs on offer. Pick your exercises then add your intervals. It might look like this:

3 x [10 squats, 10 push-ups, 10 bent-over rows], five minutes of stairs.

3 x [20 lunges, 10 biceps curls with shoulder press, 10 triceps extension], five minutes of hill intervals.

3 x [10 dead lift, 10 glute bridge, 10 ab curl with a rotation], five minutes of flat intervals.

Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother of three. r.valentine@fairfaxmedia.com.au.