Tips to help you have a Safe Holiday Season
Given the changing weather conditions during this time of year, it is important to be cautious of winter conditions such as snow, ice, and the cold temperature.
Most common winter Injuries & how we can avoid them:
1. Falling on snow & ice
- Making sure your winter shoes have good traction is important. When purchasing winter shoes, pay close attention to the material and tread pattern on the soles of the shoes. Plastic or leather shoes are not optimal slip-resistant materials, a good tread design on the sole of a shoe is one that is spread out and has depth.
- While proper footwear is helpful, it is equally as important to be conscious as you walk outdoors in the winter, because black ice can be present. Instead of only looking down as you walk, try to glance in front of you to detect uneven surfaces that are in your direction.
- Keep your arms and hands close to your body and take small steps like a penguin when walking- ankle is positioned under the hip. If you take big steps, placing the heel of your foot too far ahead of you, and the rest of your weight is shifted backwards, you are more prone to fall.
2. Experiencing muscle strain from shoveling snow/ scraping ice
- Muscle contraction is directly affected by temperature. Oxygen is carried into your body through hemoglobin. In colder temperatures, oxygen is bound to hemoglobin more tightly which impedes the rate at which oxygen reaches the muscles. For this reason, you should always warm up before engaging in physical activity including activities like shoveling the snow. By warming up, more oxygen will be available to the muscles to allow for a stronger force of contraction.
- Muscle strain can occur in an instant, or over time. Acute muscle strain can be a result of a slip/ fall, or heavy lifting; chronic muscle strain may arise from long-term harmful repetitive movement. Acute strain can be minimized by being cautious of your movement, and avoiding strenuous activities. If you do not feel physically fit, shoveling heavy snow yourself may not be the best option. Look into finding an alternative by asking a neighbor/ friend, or hiring a snow cleaning service. Chronic muscle strain can be avoided by being aware of your form when you’re engaging in physical activity.
- Some tips to keep in mind when shoveling snow is to find your balance before beginning to shovel the snow. Keep your feet wide and shift weight to the front foot when digging into the snow. When pulling the snow-filled shovel upwards, shift weight to the back foot and be sure to use the strength in your arms not your back when lifting. When throwing the snow, turn your body in the direction of the shovel instead of twisting at the waist.
3. Accidents while playing winter sports and activities
- As we should do during all times of the year, wearing proper protective gear is key to having a safe athletic experience!
- Be adventurous, but dive into it slowly. Trying a sport for the first time can go two ways, it may be a very enjoyable or a very frightening experience. While it may be very tempting to try new tricks, or experiment free-style, having the proper initial training is critical. With guidance from a professional, you can learn critical skills such as how to stop, slow down, and change directions. This basic training will help you have a safe experience.
- Be mindful of barriers! Especially in popular winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding, facilities will mark safe areas to be in. The cones, flags, and other barriers that are blocking off certain ground is placed for your safety. Do not venture off past marked trails.