Protect Your Body This Winter

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Winter in Wisconsin brings many challenges that can negatively impact your health. Snow shoveling, slippery sidewalks and sweets are only a few of the hazards this time of year. To combat the sweets I recommend moderation, regular activity and work with a personal trainer. The physical therapy advice is valuable for the slippery sidewalks and snow shoveling.

Slippery sidewalks:

Avoid the temptation to catch yourself. Falling onto your hands is the most common way to break a bone. If you fall on your backside and have pain or soreness lasting over three days I recommend a checkup with your physical therapist. It is possible to jar the alignment of your spine with this type of fall. If you want to minimize your risk of injury and falls you can consult with a physical therapist to design a balance and falls prevention plan.

Snow shoveling:

  • Get in shape. Shoveling snow is an intense form of exercise engaging your arms and legs. Get Vita Fit to get ready for snow.
  • Use your core. The core musculature is designed to protect your spine. Shoveling snow will give you a good abdominal and oblique workout.
  • Switch sides. This is tough but worth the effort. It will limit overworking one side which leads to fatigue type injuries.
  • Not all snow is light and fluffy! When the beloved “wintry mix” is upon us, lighten the load on the shovel. Paying attention to the density (wetness, if we want to be highly technical), and modifying the amount of snow per shovelful can limit the strain on your body. Additionally, twisting is a common cause of back pain, especially when shoveling snow. Try to push the snow, versus throwing the snow and risking injury.
  • Less time more frequently. Shoveling in shorter intervals will minimize over exertion of all body symptoms.

For more tips on how to protect your body this winter, check out this article from Spine-Health.

Written by: Bradley Meyer, DPT

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