Seven Tips for Cold-Weather Activities
Snow shoveling and walking can be challenging in the winter. Between slippery surfaces and out-of-shape bodies, we face many challenges in the winter. Here are some tips for making your cold-weather activities safer:
- Stretch before and after you shovel or walk. You should move your body a little bit before going outside, even if it’s simply a few circles with your arms and alternately lifting your legs. After you have returned from your winter expedition, perform a more comprehensive stretching routine that encompasses your whole body.
- Stop immediately, if you feel any pain. Continuing to shovel or walk after you experience discomfort can exacerbate your injury. See a health care professional as soon as possible to have an evaluation.
- Dress appropriately for the weather and for safety. Wear layers of clothing that can be removed as you warm up with the activity, but remember that frostbite might still be a possibility. Also, make sure your shoes or boots have thick tread to aid with balance in slippery snow. Remember to wear a brightly colored top, so drivers can see you.
- Consider your overall health before shoveling or walking. If you have a heart condition, smoke, or lead a sedentary lifestyle, consult with your physician before any vigorous activity.
- Drink plenty of water. Just like summer-time exercise, you will lose a lot of water through perspiration. Use an insulated water bottle to keep your drink from freezing.
- Move and lift with care. When shoveling, stand with your feet hip-width apart and bend at your knees. Avoid twisting or turning when throwing the snow. When walking, keep your hands out of your pockets and watch out for icy patches.
- Learn how to fall. Sometimes falling just happens. First, drop any load you are carrying, including shovels, purses, or backpacks. To reduce your risk of injury, tuck your arms in and turn your body as you begin to fall. Relax your muscles as much as possible.
Winter Wellness will be the topic for our February Wellness Wednesday. A Memorial Medical Center physical therapist will be here to discuss winter topics including (but not limited to) proper snow shoveling body mechanics, cross-country skiing injury prevention, and safe walking over slippery surfaces. Stop by from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on February 13, 2013 for more tips on keeping your body healthy and happy through the winter months.