1870 Mag

Ask An Expert: OSU’s Head Football Physical Therapist

OSU’s head football physical therapist Adam Stewart weighs in on staying fit

Welcome back from winter break.

Time to kick back, grab a La Croix (Man, they suck), play some Fortnite, and hide from the cold weather. Well, until it’s three days in, you can’t move from being buried under UberEats Taco Bell wrappers, and you’ve gained the weight of your parent’s house cat.

This is a hard time of year to be in shape or even do anything active for many reasons. It’s cold. You just finished a hard semester. And exercising sometimes just isn’t fun.

But you know you need to. Your speeding metabolism leftover from high school will start to slow down one day and all you’re left with is a belly full of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, copious amounts of cheap beer, and suddenly you wear a large t-shirt instead of a medium. It’s a gradual change and typically it’s hard to notice when you are scrambling each day with tests, homework, work, class, and anything else you are involved in.

Instead of following some random hard body on Instagram or searching Google for the next best workout plan, we found an expert. Adam Stewart, OSU’s head football physical therapist, sat down with us to talk about staying fit, keeping safe while doing so, and he even debunked some of the biggest myths in the fitness realm.

If it’s good enough for J. K. Dobbins to run all over Big Ten defenses, it’s good enough for you.

Why is it so hard to stay in shape/fit as a college student during the winter? There are many reasons that it becomes much tougher to stay in shape during the winter but it mainly comes back to MOTIVATION being the key to all of these reasons. Colder weather and the increased amount of time that it is dark outside make it hard to get out of bed, let alone go to the gym.  Compound these nature elements with the fact that staying cooped up at home leads to increased eating with decreased activity and pretty quick you see why it’s so easy to get out of shape during the winter months.

Why is exercise during the winter-time important? Exercise YEAR-ROUND is important. The evidence based exercise guidelines usually don’t change based on season, so it is super important to make sure that your own personal guidelines don’t change too much either. It is best to maintain fitness year-round, as hard as that may be.

What are the most common injuries you see of student athletes and non-student athletes during their winter sport? You may see increased bumps and bruises from people taking a fall out on the ice. Sometimes falling on ice can also lead to an increase in wrist injuries as you try to catch yourself while you fall.  Last but not least, you definitely want to be wary of an increase of auto accidents.  When the roads get slick the last thing you want is a call saying someone—athlete or not—was in a car accident.

“The biggest mistake people make when working out is going into things too fast, and too aggressively.”

What are the best/safest exercises to do to stay in shape during the winter indoors or outdoors? I am a big fan of everything in moderation and keeping in mind that if something works for one person, it may not work best for the next person. The best way to stay in shape is to pick an exercise routine that can give you a good dose of safe strength training, with beneficial levels of cardio exercise intertwined.  I say “safe” and “beneficial” because everyone should ideally see a physician and be cleared for any new physical activity. Outside of the actual workouts, it’s very important to keep diet in mind as well. You can rarely, if ever, out-train a bad diet.

What steps should students take to avoid injury while exercising in the winter indoors or outdoors? Start slow, and progress based off of how your body tolerates the workouts. The biggest mistake people make when working out is going into things too fast, and too aggressively. This in turn can cause soreness or even injury, and will discourage you from being able to work out again soon.

From your knowledge, what is the best pre-workout/exercise food/drink? I am not a huge supplement guy. Most of the supplements out there on the market do not have to be regulated by the FDA and therefore do not have to contain what they actually tell you is in the product.  With this knowledge, I usually tell people to revert back to using their diet for “pre-workout” ideas. What I mean by this is that most literature shows that using something with some easy to digest carbohydrates in it can be the best option to give you an energy boost while also not having the risky side effects that some products carry.  Before you use any pre-workout formulas off the shelf I also would recommend being seen by a physician to make sure your body can even tolerate the effects of the supplement.

From your knowledge, what is the best post-workout/exercise food/drink? Post exercise I am usually a big fan of any sort of protein you can get into your system. This protein (whether from a supplement or from a food source) is the building block your body needs for repair after a workout.  As you increase the intensity of your workouts this becomes more and more true.  You have to give your body the fuel it needs to perform, and repair, otherwise you will continue to break down and simply won’t see as much benefit to your workouts. A simple yet great form of recovery product is actually a good ole fashioned chocolate milk.

Chris Pennington

Chris Pennington

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