New England

Tips for Transitioning to Cold Weather Play

Megan Gleason, MD, Sports Medicine Surgeon at Orthopaedic and Neurosurgery Specialists | November 15, 2023


As the temperatures start dropping, it is a good time to reevaluate your conditioning and maintenance routine to stay in top shape for tennis. At Orthopaedic & Neurosurgery Specialists (ONS) in Fairfield County, CT, our team of sports medicine surgeons, physical therapists and athletic trainers work together to treat tennis players of all ages and abilities.

 

Here are some tips on how to safely transition to cold weather play:

 

1. Ramp up your warmup routine: All tennis players, regardless of your age or skill level, should incorporate a dynamic warmup, especially in the winter months. It’s important to get your blood flowing and your muscles warm before any sort of physical activity in the cold.  This will reduce the risk of pulls or strains. A good warmup routine can consist of light jogging, side-to-side movements, and stretching.

 

2. Don’t forget the cool down: Remember to take time for a short cool down after activity. Your muscles have been working hard and will benefit from stretching as you ease back into regular activity.

 

3. Dress warmly: Layers are best! Consider bringing extra clothing, even if it’s more than you think you need. You’ll stay warmer, and also have the option to change into clean, dry clothes for subsequent matches if you are getting sweaty.

Megan Gleason, MD

 4Wear a supportive shoe: Winter isn’t the time to try out a new lightweight, flexible shoe on the court. A shoe that offers more support and stability will minimize your risk of injury.

 

5. Hydrate: In colder weather, there is a tendency to drink less water. However, you are still working hard and exerting energy, so it’s very important to rehydrate during intense physical activity.

 

6. Check the court: There is an increased risk of slips and falls if the tennis court is icy. Take a look to make sure it’s not frosty or slick before you start to play. Consider adjusting the time of day that you play – for example, daytime might have the best court conditions as opposed to early morning or early evening.

 

7. Listen to your body: Don’t ignore pain. Even a minor injury can become a major issue if not treated early and appropriately. 

 

While off the court, take the time to do some strength training, either with resistance bands or weights.  Strength training can help build up the muscles in your hips and legs, as well as your back and shoulders, and can help minimize the risk of injury. Sports medicine providers commonly see acute tennis injuries (such as ankle sprains or pulled muscles) as well as overuse injuries (such as elbow tendinitis or shoulder strains).

 

Finally, always exercise good judgement. Tennis is a great sport to play year-round with some minor adjustments - and if it’s too cold, icy, or wet, find an indoor facility to keep your game strong!

 

Spire Orthopedic Partners and its network of practices are the Exclusive Orthopedic Partners of USTA New England. Orthopaedic & Neurosurgery Specialists is the leading orthopedic, sports medicine and neurosurgery practice serving the Fairfield County, CT and Westchester, NY communities.

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