Body Break Be Prepared
We are now entering into the season whereby the weather can have a huge impact on whether or not your body is prepared for the elements. Although the risk of injuries can occur throughout the year, the winter season has its own unique set of risks.
Snow, ice and wind can cause havoc with your balance, footing and your back. A lack of focus, the wrong footwear or not seeing the black ice can send you to the Emergency Department in a blink of an eye.
There are safety precautions around your home (in and out) you can put into place such as improving lighting, eliminating potential tripping hazards and using ergonomically designed tools. But the first line of defence to reduce your risk of any injury is making sure your body is strong, flexible and performing at its best.
Injury prevention is just another reason to exercise. Weight-bearing exercises such as walking, stair climbing and aerobics/dancing will help keep your bones strong. However, to keep your muscles strong, you need to lift weights or perform resistance exercises.
Strong muscles will help to support your joints. For example, if the muscles that help support your knee such as your hamstrings (the back of your upper leg) are weak, this could ultimately be the cause of a knee injury that could otherwise be prevented. Strong muscles can also help with maintaining your balance so you are less likely to slip or fall.
If you don’t work at keeping your muscles strong, you will lose it as you age. Not only will your risk of injury be higher but the rate at which you burn calories will slow down causing you to gain weight if you do not cut back on your food intake.
You can start to improve your muscle strength at any age and experience results pretty quickly if you are consistent with your strength workouts such as 3 times a week. You can build muscle strength using dumbbells, weight machines, an elastic exercise band, a medicine ball, a TRX band, kettlebells or lifting your own body weight through exercises like push ups.
Check out what programs are available at your local community centre, YMCA or fitness clubs. You can also download Apps for strengthening workouts, watch YouTube exercise instruction videos or flip through fitness magazines for workout suggestions.
One of the simplest ways to test your strength, balance, motor co-ordination and flexibility is the laying-rising test. You start by laying on the floor and proceed to get up without the use of your hands. Strength, balance, motor co-ordination and flexibility are all required for day-to-day living and for preserving your independence as you age.
If you unfortunately sustain an injury, if your muscles are strong to begin with, chances are your recovery will be shorter.
The goal is to live a safe, healthy and independent life for as long as you can.
Until Next Time, Keep Fit and Have Fun — Hal & Joanne • www.bodybreak.com