Avoiding Winter Injuries!

It’s cold…and snowy…and there’s ice…and black ice!

It’s that time of the year when the simple act of crossing the street can be risky! We’ve got some tips to keep you safe from the aches and pains of winter.

Snow Removal – How To Be Safe

Many of us love to play in the snow, but cleaning it up is another story altogether! Here’s what you can do to help protect yourself from an injury or a heart attack?

  • Be very careful getting in and out of cars – that’s when a lot of slips and falls happen.
  • Warm up. Professional athletes don’t jump right into a game or lifting weights without warming up first! But with snow shoveling, how often do you see yourself or your neighbors warming up. Physical therapists recommend warming up before any strenuous activity. The least you can do before hitting the snow is stretch your back, shoulders and arms, or even walk in place for 5-10 minutes.
  • Use a light weight snow shovel, not a heavy one. Push the snow to the side, don’t throw it! Work on smaller loads of snow instead of bigger ones.
  • If you have to, throw the load of snow with your knees bent and letting your legs lift rather than your back! Keep your back straight and avoid twisting.
  • Keep yourself strong and in shape! People who are in good physical shape are better prepared for strenuous activities like snow shoveling.
  • Take breaks, especially if you are feeling tired. Get help if you feel any chest or back pain.

As with any other change to your physical activity, you should talk to your doctor or therapist if you have questions or concerns.

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Sidewalks and parking lots can be hazardous for people of all ages, but some of these simple suggestions might save you a lot of agony:

  • Wear shoes with rubber or non-slip soles. Try to avoid high heels, and opt for the low heels with thicker soles. Remember, safety first.
  • Use a cane with an ice-pick tip, if necessary, to help with balance.
  • Walk on plowed, salted paths whenever possible. If walking on ice is unavoidable, leaning forward and taking short strides, or shuffling, will help.
  • Be very careful getting in and out of cars – that’s when a lot of falls happen.

Ice on the road and sidewalks are one of the reasons for great number of falls. Since we can’t avoid winter, let’s make the most of it! Find ways to make it a little safer for yourself and your families. Use caution while walking on slippery surfaces. Balance exercises are a great way to help protect you and your loved ones from slipping and falling. Talk to your therapist today if you are interested in learning Tai Chi – one of the best proven exercises to improve your balance and mobility. You can email me at pchan@handsonnj-pt.com for any questions. All your questions or concerns are welcome.

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