Fitness in winter: outdoor workouts help fight depression

fitness in winter
Outdoor workouts help fight depression

Snow and cold do not prevent jogging in the forest.

© Blazej Lyjak/

When the cold and darkness overwhelm you in winter, sports help, among other things. These are the best tips for working outdoors.

Despite sub-zero temperatures and adverse weather conditions, outdoor workouts should not be canceled in winter. Exercise is now even more important, not only for the body but also for the mind. What needs to be taken into account and how we can avoid injuries is revealed by Dr. Martin Rinio, specialist in orthopaedics, surgery and trauma surgery, in an interview with the news agency spot on news.

Why is it important to exercise regularly, even in winter?

Dr. Martin Rinio: When the temperatures drop, a lot of people get a little sluggish. But if you just laze around for hours, you barely recover. On the contrary: monotony hits the mind, the muscles of the back and abdominals relax, the neck and shoulders tense and the metabolism is slowed down. Small steps are often enough to stay fit and alert: instead of taking the elevator and the car, please take the stairs or walk as often as possible – this is usually enough to noticeably improve health and well-being.

Regular walks in the fresh air strengthen the heart and circulation, fight depression, strengthen the immune system and reduce the risk of catching a cold – whatever the season. In addition, sufficient physical activity is almost an elixir of life for our joints – and the best protection against osteoarthritis.

Are we more prone to injuries in winter?

Rinio: Snow and ice often make the path outside on winter days a dangerous slippery slope. You twisted your ankle or fell in no time. In addition, our muscles contract more when it is cold and are therefore particularly susceptible to injury. In addition, the body needs more time to reach the correct operating temperature. An intensive warm-up is therefore particularly important.

How can we prevent injuries?

Rinio: As already mentioned, the main thing is intensive warm-up training with coordination exercises, shoulder circles, etc. to avoid joint strain or damage. Sturdy shoes, small steps and possibly fall prevention (especially for the elderly and disabled) help us get through the winter better. A headlight can also be useful: it considerably improves visibility when jogging at dusk, for example. And reflectors ensure runners are easier to see. And another tip: always do the stretching exercises indoors after running. This protects ligaments and muscles. In addition, the risk of catching a cold when cooling down is reduced.

A good alternative to sports in winter is definitely a walk, isn’t it?

Rinio: Regular walks in winter not only promote circulation and muscles, but also mood and brain fitness: experts have calculated that even a walk of medium duration increases blood flow in certain areas of the body by up to a third. brain. Brisk walking is fine, but please don’t get out of breath.

The practical benefits, like a good profile and non-slip soles, are more important than the chic of the shoes. If the roads are slippery or snowy, the motto is: waddle forward. This means: taking small, slow steps. It is best to tilt your body slightly forward and turn your feet slightly outward.

Elderly people or those who have difficulty walking should not leave the house when it is icy and snowy. If there is no other way, if possible hang on with an accompaniment. A short “walk” around the apartment once in a while is just as good for your back and circulation as spending 15 minutes on your feet after every hour of sitting. A real stimulant for the musculature of the whole body is table tennis – the ideal year-round sport within your own walls.

Doctor Martin Rinio is a specialist in orthopaedics, surgery and trauma surgery. He is the medical director of the joint clinic in Gundelfingen near Freiburg. His main areas of treatment include hip joints and endoprosthetics.


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