As cold weather is finally rolling into Australia, it’s getting more and more tempting to bundle up, stay in, and drop the usual exercise regimen. But as we’re sure you’ve heard a hundred times before, staying active is important - no matter the season. Inactivity can cause muscles to weaken and tense up, leading to cramps and joint pangs. So, here’s our advice on how to get active with Aussie winter sports.
Why playing sports in winter is great
So, why should you go out and get active when the couch and heater are so inviting?
- It’s a good way to get some sun. Being out and about will get your Vitamin D levels up, boosting serotonin levels and ensuring you stay healthy. Vitamin D is essential to healthy muscles and bones. If you’re stuck inside with studies or work, playing sports will be especially good for you.
- It’ll be more comfortable. Australian winters may hit single-digit temperatures in daylight, but getting active in these conditions may prove easier than running around in the summer heat.
- You’ll boost your endorphins. For many, limited daylight can cause the winter blues. And as physical activity has been proven to boost endorphins and reduce stress, sports are a good way to beat them.
- It will keep you in shape. Because as we mentioned, inactivity causes muscles to weaken and stiffen, while exercise will help keep them strong and flexible.
- You’ll boost your immune system. Research shows that staying active can help strengthen your immune function.
- It’ll keep you motivated. Being part of a team and sticking to a routine will make it much easier to get out of the house and stay active.
How to stick to winter sports and stay active
Find a sport you like
The more you enjoy the physical activity you’re doing, the more likely you are to stick with it. And in the Aussie winter, you have options aplenty, including but not limited to;
- Basketball and netball are great for the winter as they can be played outdoors and indoors. You can take your training outside when it’s nice and sunny out and still be active when the weather’s bad.
- Rugby and AFL are good winter options for those looking for a more intense, high-contact activity. Though as these are outdoor sports, it can be a bit harder to stick to them than court sports.
- Surfing in winter is worth it if you can brave it. There’s nothing like catching waves in the peace and quiet of a near-empty beach. Having few people around will also make it a bit safer (and a little less embarrassing if you’re still learning the ropes).
- Hiking. Being out in nature is usually better when it’s cooler and fewer mosquitoes bother you.
A good diet is key to energy levels and motivation. We’re not saying you must put aside comfort foods like potato bakes and pasta. Carbs and fats are essential to energy output. But you should aim to find a good balance between these and high-vitamin, high-protein options like roasted salmon and salads topped with nuts and meats.
In winter, getting vitamin D out of your food is especially important. Fatty fish, liver, and milk are especially good sources. And if you can’t, be sure to supplement.
Last but not least, you’ll likely already eat a few more calories in winter. But even so, ensure your energy input is roughly the same as your output. As a general guide, people burn around 1 calorie per kilo per MET (metabolic equivalent). If you weigh 70 kilos and do an hour of moderate (around 4.5-6.5 MET) exercise, you’ll burn 315-455 calories.
Get the right winter sports gear
As with summertime sports, good gear is essential. It’ll keep you warm and comfortable and reduce your risk of injury - all crucial to helping you get more enjoyment out of the sport and stick to it.
- For surfing, you’ll need a long and high-quality wetsuit to keep you warm in frigid waters.
- For basketball and netball, you’ll need appropriate shoes with sufficient heel cushioning and overall foot support. Regular trainers or running shoes may seem fine for recreational players, but they won’t provide enough protection and can result in painful ankle sprains.
- You’ll also need the right shoes for hiking and rugby. Hiking boots keep your feet well-supported and safe from the elements and any unfriendly fauna. Like rugby boots, they also have specialised soles to help you grip the trail.
- For an outdoor sport, get some moisture-wicking underlayers to keep you warm and dry.
Support your joints and muscles
Sports Compression Arm Sleeves
Along with the usual sports gear, you should also look into compression supports. Quality compression knit fabric has several important benefits, like:
- Boosting your circulation. Boosted blood flow means your muscles get the oxygen and nutrients they need faster, reducing fatigue and speeding up recovery. Compression Calf and Arm Sleeves will be especially handy if you need to push harder in training or play longer on the field. It’ll also be handy for reducing the impact of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), so you can stick to your routine.
- Improving your proprioception. Proprioception is essentially your awareness of how you move and position your body. While this sense is perfectly fine in most people, improving it can lead to better balance and muscular control. That’s why compression gear like our Sports Back Support is great for sports like surfing, where stability is critical.
- Reducing your risk of injury. First, fatigued muscles lead to more fragile tendons picking up the slack, resulting in repetitive strain injuries like jumper’s knee. So, less muscle fatigue, less risk. And second, compression fabric communicates directly with the muscle, helping your brain activate it more effectively to protect your joints.
To sum up
It’s easy to stay inside and bundled up in winter. But getting out and participating in winter sports will be great for your health and mood. Just make sure to eat right, protect yourself with the right gear and brace, and have fun. That way, you’ll be much more likely to stick to your new routine.
If you require assistance selecting the right product for your needs or wearing the brace, call us on 1300 668 466 or contact us via live chat.Do you have private health? Most private health extras will cover Bauerfeind Products. Check to see if yours is included. Bauerfeind Private Health Insurance Inquiry.