Winterize Your Body - LECOM Health

Winterize Your Body

Winterize Your Body
by: Dave Hopkins, M.S. NSCA-CSCS, TSAC-F
An average walking gait primarily involves only one foot being in contact with the ground at one time. So, it’s imperative to incorporate exercises that focus on balance and rotational movements into your regular exercise regimen. Ice and snow create an additional layer of instability, causing the ground to become uneven and slippery. I refer to exercise programming during this time of year as “Winterizing Your Body.” The following list of fitness components should comprise the majority of one’s strength exercise program:
  • Core Strength
  • Balance
  • Rotation
  • Grip Strength
  • Mobility/Flexibility
Core strength provides the foundation for balance and rotational movements involving the hip and spine, as the core muscles are located between the base of your rib cage and pelvic floor.
Grip strength enables us to perform activities of daily living at an optimal level. People tend to pull their way through life more often than push. Lifting, carrying, pulling, holding, and turning/twisting objects isn’t possible without sufficient grip strength to perform the task. Research studies have shown a strong correlation between the strength of one’s grip and quality of life and life expectancy. As one’s grip weakens, independence declines along with quality of life and life expectancy. If you can’t perform the task, someone else has to do it for you, and most people prefer to do things on their own.
Mobility and flexibility come into play primarily in preventing serious injury, similar to balance. If you don’t have sufficient hip mobility to lift your feet when walking on uneven terrain and up/down stairs, your chances of falling are greatly increased. Flexibility in your hip flexors, glutes and hamstrings contributes to one’s ability to be sufficiently mobile, thereby decreasing the likelihood of falling. Mobility and flexibility in the upper body are equally important in preventing injuries involving the neck and shoulders.
Dave Hopkins is the director for the LECOM Medical Fitness and Wellness Center. Dave holds a Bachelor’s in education from Edinboro University and a Master’s in Exercise Science from Bloomsburg University. He is certified through the National Strength and Conditioning Association® as a strength and conditioning specialist and as a tactical strength and conditioning facilitator. In addition, Dave served in the Marine Corps for six years as both an enlisted Marine and as an officer. For more information on how to incorporate these fitness components into your exercise regimen and to see video demonstrations of exercises, visit and search LECOM Motivation Monday.