At Heartland Imaging, we deliver affordable diagnostic imaging options to our community without compromising convenience, care, technology, or results — throughout the year.

But with folks getting outside and active, we also want to ensure your winter isn’t disrupted by an injury that might require you to come see us!

So, here’s some advice for how to avoid injury during the cooler weather.

When it’s cold — warm up!

“You might be eager to leap into your exercise routine and get on with the day — but don’t just dive in,” Harvard Health cautions. “Cold” muscles jumping into abrupt action can quickly become injured, thanks to lack of blood flow or proper oxygen. Slightly elevating your heart rate and moving joints and muscles through a basic range of motion first, can help.

Even if it’s only for a couple of minutes, begin each workout with a warm-up, no matter what stage of physical prowess you’re in.

Unsure what a healthy warm-up entails? There are several sources you can choose from, but we like these recommendations from NerdFitness:

  1. Marching in place while swinging your arms
  2. Jumping or walking jacks
  3. Arm circles and shoulder shrugs
  4. Mountain climbers
  5. Leg swings (forward and side to side)
  6. Hip rotations (like stepping over a fence) or hip circles (like you’re hula hooping)
  7. Squats or lunges
  8. Push-ups

Watch the air quality.

The American Lung Association reminds us that air pollution can cause cellular injury and inflammation. This puts added stress on any systems that may already be inflamed or in pain. The Air Quality Index (AQI) online tool can help you check pollution levels in your area before heading outside for exercise.

Water, water, water, water.

Overall, “Keeping the body hydrated helps the heart more easily pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles. And, it helps the muscles work efficiently,” the American Heart Association reminds. But enough water also helps the body get rid of toxins, keeps your brain and cardiovascular system healthy, and protects your tissues and joints.

During exercise, you lose water through both exertion and sweat. Very general guidelines recommend at least eight, eight-ounce glasses of water each day, but you may need more depending on several factors, including your level of activity. Snack on foods with high water content such as melons, celery, and cucumber are another delicious way to keep up your fluid levels.

Already experiencing pain? Ample hydration also helps the body fight inflammation by flushing out toxins and keeping joints well-lubricated, which can be another motivator to refill that water bottle.

Withstand the temptation to be a Weekend Warrior.

Similar to starting a workout without warming up, suddenly exercising when you haven’t been previously active may be harmful.

“Being sedentary all week long and then becoming incredibly (and excessively!) active when the weekend comes may be a recipe for disaster. If you haven’t been keeping up with an activity all winter long, don’t just jump right in,” Jill Horbacewicz, Chair of the Physical Therapy Department at the School of Health Sciences at Touro College advises. “You need to slowly get up to speed and allow your body to acclimate to the demands you are placing on it.”

Take time, be patient, and set goals for yourself to increase your physical activity a little bit every day — or every other day — depending on your current levels of exertion.

Be careful out there, but if you do get injured, Heartland Imaging’s professionally trained and board-certified radiologists are here to serve your needs. If you or your doctor need to arrange a screening at one of our locations in Louisville and Elizabethtown, call (502) 429-6500 to make a (non-judgmental) appointment. Our locations also offer convenient walk-in x-rays. For more information about where to find us, visit our website.