Let the games begin! The winter season of sports and activities has begun. Whether you are a novice or a pro please take precautions to prevent injuries this winter.
Winter Fun Safely
Snow, ice, and cold weather are part of the seasonal fun but can create a different set of problems besides slips and falls. Those who like to indulge in winter sporting activities are also far more likely to receive injuries if they have not conditioned and prepared their bodies in advance.
Properly warming up your body is even more important before embarking on any exercise or sport in cold weather. The cold weather temperatures cause less blood to flow to the extremities in order to keep the core warmer. The key to avoid muscle spasms, strains, and tears is to make sure the body is properly insulated and to warm the muscles up before exercising. This applies to both indoor and outdoor sports activities.
Basic Guide to Warming Up for Winter Sports:
- Skiing: Perform 10 to 15 squats, legs shoulder width apart, knees aligned over your feet. Lower your buttocks as you bend your knees out over your feet, then push up to standing again. Slowly does it.
- Skating: Several lunges, adopting a moderately advanced step forward with one foot, letting your back knee lower towards the floor. Keep your shoulders positioned over your hips, and repeat with your other foot.
- Tobogganing: Sitting or lying on your back, bring your knees to your chest for 30 seconds several times to guard against compression injuries caused by the shocks of bouncing down bumpy slopes.
- Cooling down is also important during and after winter exercise and sport to restore and maintain flexibility.
Other Tips for a Less Fun Winter Activity
Whether you take part in other winter sports activities one activity that transcends to most of the population is shoveling.
So, when faced with shoveling snow this season follow these tips to avoid back pain and other sprains and strains:
- Plan your shoveling so you don’t rush it; listening to weather forecasts will help, especially if you have to shovel before leaving for work.
- Wear several layers of clothing to keep your muscles warm and therefore flexible.
- Warm-up exercises can help prevent shoveling injuries, which particularly affect your shoulders, upper back, lower back, buttocks and legs.
- Push the snow straight ahead of you and carry it to where you want to dump it. Throwing it somewhere left or right involves potentially damaging twisting motions.
- Take some of the strain away from your back by bending your knees when shoveling and lifting the snow. Your leg and arm muscles are more able to cope with strain than your back.
- Take regular breaks to rest your muscles, but don’t get too cold in between.
- Any chest pain, excess fatigue or shortness of breath is a sign you should stop and possibly seek medical attention.
After finishing the job, although you’ll have no doubt had enough of the cold, applying an ice pack to any sore area will ease the pain. Keep it on there for 20 minutes before removing it for a couple of hours. Repeat twice a day for a couple of days.
We Can Help!
Any pain, strain or soreness that lingers beyond what you’d naturally expect may indicate that a visit to our practice may be in order. Our expert team has been assembled to provide you with the care that will quickly get you back out enjoying this season’s activities!
For Your Health,
Dr. Joseph Gambardella, Dr. Todd Brown and Dr. Benjamin Erb