Ask the Chiropractic Care Expert – Dr. Jans
It’s the time of year for hockey, curling, skating, skiing, sledding and many other activities that require cold, ice or snow. All of these are certainly different than what you have done in the Spring, Summer and Fall. These winter activities put different demands on the body than those done in warm weather. It is always important to properly prepare for any physical activity, but because of the cold temperatures it is of even greater importance. Even going for a simple walk requires more preparation in the winter than when the weather is warm.
There’s one more winter activity that I really want to focus on and that is snow shovelling. Every winter our office sees many people who injure themselves moving snow. Here are some tips to help you avoid snow removal injuries this season.
- Do a 5 to 10 minute warmup indoors before you head out. Some walking or skipping followed by stretching of the back, legs and arms will get your body ready. Keep in mind that shovelling snow is a strenuous activity.
- Wear proper clothing, especially footwear that doesn’t easily slip. Clothing should allow free movement and keep you warm but not overheat you.
- Select a lightweight shovel designed to push the snow.
- Push rather than lift the snow whenever possible. When it is necessary to lift the snow, avoid twisting and use leg and arm muscles rather than the back. Bend at the knees to make the leg muscles do the work instead of the back.
- Watch the ice! Slipping on ice, particularly when it’s covered with snow is a major cause of injuries. Sand, ice melter or kitty litter can significantly improve traction.
- Shovel often instead of letting the snow build up. It’s so much easier to move small amounts of snow!
- Take breaks to let your muscles, lungs and heart recuperate. This is particularly important if your other main source of winter exercise is pushing the buttons on your remote 😉
Getting chiropractic adjustments before engaging in winter activities helps your body to be prepared so you can minimize the risk of injury and enjoy the activities. Yes even snow shovelling can be enjoyable if you are prepared. All activities are better if you don’t have back or neck pain.
Get ready for Winter. Call today for a free consultation.