We have entered that time of year that is either loved or hated: winter. The weather has turned cold, and the snow is here. With winter activities underway, it is important to be prepared to stay safe while enjoying the season.
Ready To Enjoy All of the Fun of Winter Safely? Read On for Tips and Tricks.
Bundle Up! Prevention is Key
- Staying healthy in the winter weather starts before you go outside. Cold muscles are more injury-prone. A 10-minute warm-up with dynamic stretching could help decrease the risk of muscle strain.
- Layering your winter gear can help keep your body temperature steady for optimal function and injury avoidance. Bonus: Warm winter clothing can also serve as padding should a collision occur!
- Watching what you wear can also help prevent an injury. A dangling scarf, for instance, could get caught while sledding and cause a neck injury.
- Shoveling snow can put a strain on your body. Snow is heavy and the extra weight may stress your heart which can put you at risk of a heart attack. It is best to avoid heavy lifting.
- Back injuries are also common when shoveling packed snow. Push the snow rather than lift it whenever possible. If you must lift, do so in small loads using your legs rather than your back.
- Many of us have fond memories of sledding on snowy days, but it does pose an injury risk. Always examine the area before heading down the hill. Look for rocks, debris, ice, or any other obstacles in the way. Mounds of snow may disguise hidden hazards or direct your sled to an unsafe landing area, like a road or fence.
- Sit upright on the sled rather than lying flat. Lying flat on a sled increases the risk of head and abdominal injuries.
- Sleds with steering and braking are safer for use than those without. If a collision is imminent, it’s best to roll off the sled rather than brace for the impact of a crash.
- When skating on ice outdoors, always examine your surroundings and only skate in approved areas. Ice in outdoor conditions can be unpredictable, so look for cracks, holes, and other debris on the ice.
- Whether you’re indoor or outdoor ice skating, you should learn how to stop. It is also important to know the proper way to fall to help prevent an injury.
Skiing and Snowboarding
- Skiing and snowboarding are popular options during the winter, but many risks are associated with both sports. Safety equipment like helmets approved to ASTM F2040 or EN1077 are strongly recommended.
- You should also check all your equipment for potential damage prior to hitting the slopes.
- Being aware of your skill level can also help you determine which slopes to attempt and which ones might not be worth the risk.
- Remaining in control of yourself and your equipment is important to preventing injury not only for yourself but to others sharing the slope with you.
- Lower body and core exercises can help strengthen your muscles to ensure your body is ready to meet the demands of the sport.
Enjoy All the Season Has To Offer With Help From a Physical Therapist
Knowledge is power, and being aware of the risks associated with common winter activities can help you enjoy the season stress-free.
If you’re planning to participate in winter activities, a physical therapy “check-up” can be a great way to identify any areas of weakness that may contribute to a future injury. Physical therapists can also help you build the strength, endurance, and flexibility you need to tackle your favorite winter activity. Whether you’re going on a ski trip or just nervous about navigating icy sidewalks, addressing these potential concerns early can help prevent more significant problems from happening.
Our team of therapists is happy to work with you this winter. Contact PTS to speak with a member of our team about how we can help you. Call 309-231-0676 or send us a message here.