Minimizing Injuries During Cold Winter Months

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Minimizing Injuries During Cold Winter Months

With the holidays behind us, we can safely say that family members aren’t the only ones that made an appearance this time of year. Old man winter has shown up too, and isn’t leaving anytime soon! While this time of year is meant to bring together family and promote joy, there is also no shortage of stress and potential injuries that come along this time of year. Shoveling snow, dragging luggage during holiday travels, carrying shopping bags, decorating and cleaning the house and carting kids from place to place can put a lot of strain on your body in a short period of time. Then the snow hits and your body just can’t get the break it needs. The winter wonderland ahead of us doesn’t have to be detrimental on your body. Setting aside a small amount of time to care for your body during this winter season will leave you feeling your best throughout the cold winter months ahead.

When the snow hits, remember to warm up and stretch:

Taking just a few moments to warm up muscles and perform gentle stretches can help prevent bigger problems down the road. Before grabbing your snow shovel, take a few minutes to warm up and stretch your muscles to prevent an injury later. Lightly jog in place or try doing a few jumping jacks to warm up muscles before stretching.

Start with a simple hamstring stretch, which will warm up the legs and lower back. Gently bend forward at the waist from a standing position with the legs as comfortably straight as can be.With arms down and keeping your back straight, bend at the waist and start reaching towards your toes far enough to feel a soothing stretch without pain. Add onto this stretch by grabbing opposite elbows, letting arms still hang for 20-30 seconds then gently roll up slowly to return to a standing position.Continue to stretch hamstrings by putting the right leg forward with toes pointed up. Gently reach right hand towards the toes on your right foot as far as you can, and grab your right toes if possible. Hold this stretch for 20-30 seconds and repeat on the left side.

Warm up and stretch the lower back with a gentle twist.Stand in a door way with feet shoulder width apart. Grab the right side of the door with the left hand and gently twist to the right and hold for 20-30 seconds. Repeat with the right side of your body by grabbing the left side of the door with your right hand. Continue to stretch the lower back by lying back side down on the floor and gently pull your right knee towards your chest until you feel a gentle stretch. Hold for 20-30 seconds, and then repeat with the left side. Stretching before and after activity can help prevent soreness and injury while assisting with muscle recovery.

Maintain proper form

While shoveling or snow blowing, maintaining good form during activity is vital for preventing injury. When shoveling, start with an ergonomic shovel which will reduce unnecessary strain to the lower back and legs. If possible, push the show to the sides instead of lifting the snow piles.When pushing alone isn’t enough, scoop smaller piles of snow, using your legs to lift the snow and walk the snow to its new location, instead of throwing it. This will reduce the chance of injury from lifting and twisting. When a heavy snow fall is being predicted, try shoveling in shifts instead of doing it all at once. The lighter the load, the lesser the burden on your body.

A little extra precaution can go a long way.The cold winter months can make regular physical activity a challenge, but taking care to maintain an active lifestyle through the winter will keep muscles in good working order for the rest of the year to come.