Winter Health and Safety

| Dr. Eva Norman

Winter time can be a time when accidents are prevalent. There are a number of things to keep in mind during the cold and often snowy or icy days of winter.

First off, good posture should always be first and foremost in your thoughts. This is actually something you should keep in mind no matter what season. In normal posture, there should be a straight line connecting the ear, shoulder, hip, knee, & ankle when looking at yourself from the side. When the spine is in this proper alignment, the muscles are able to operate in optimal length. To maintain the position you need to use  your lower abdominal muscles. By contracting your lower abdominal muscles when shoveling this winter, you can help prevent injuries. It can help alleviate body fatigue, strains, sprains, muscle aches and other serious spinal injuries.

Snow Removal

In Minnesota we all have known and experienced the need of having to remove snow. This can be done with a snow shovel; the hardest and probably least expensive method that will take the biggest toll on your body.

Utilize these snow shoveling tips:

    Use a plastic shovel as snow will slide off of the shovel much easier than a metal shovel. By eliminating any build up of snow you won’t be tempted to bend and twist your spine while pounding the shovel to get the stuck snow off. End result? You won’t risk injuring your spine.
    Use a shovel with a shaft that lets you keep your back straight while lifting. A short shaft/handle will actually cause you to bend more to lift the load.  A shovel with a longer handle makes the weight at the end of the shovel heavier. Also, be sure you step into the direction that you are throwing the snow in order to prevent your spine from twisting.  This will help prevent pain and injury.
  • Don’t fill the shovel completely. Use smaller, lighter scoops to lessen the tension on the body as you shovel.
  • Don’t twist to throw the snow off of the shovel. If necessary, turn to face the area where you want to drop the snow instead of trying to turn, twist & throw. It will save your back from being fatigued or, even worse, injured.
  • Use your legs to lift the snow. Don’t bend, twist or use your back to lift at any time.
  • Take frequent breaks. During your breaks walk tall and perform a backward bend  to extend your back, its muscles and tendons and release the tensions.
  • Don’t be too proud to accept help! No matter what your age, position, or physical ability a young, healthy neighbor who offers to help is doing so because they care. If you don’t have money to offer them as a thank you quite often a simple cup of hot cocoa or a few cookies and conversation go a long way. “Thank You” is free to say and are two words that mean a lot to someone who truly cares about you and wants to help.

Live Your Life Physical Therapy is proud to offer our Live Your Life TALL & STRONG program to help you improve your height, body alignment, strength, flexibility and balance while addressing your pain, so you can go about your day feeling “TALL & STRONG” in your movements. This wellness program will help you in every aspect of keeping safe during the winter months!

Watch Your Step – Winter Falls

Shoveling snow isn’t the only dangerous adventure during the winter time. With winter snow comes wet & slippery floors, ice, icy stairs & walks, slippery driveways and so much more. You need to make sure that you are walking as safely as possible to help avoid falling injuries. One of our most frequently utilized proactive, wellness programs is our Live Your Life FALL FREE Fall Prevention program. With this program we focus on addressing the root cause of the problem so that clients feel more comfortable on their feet and more stable when walking. This enhanced stability and comfort truly does help when forced to walk on surfaces that would make the average person uncomfortable, let alone someone who was experiencing stability issues.winter health & safety

Our Fall Prevention Program focuses on strengthening your trunk, lower extremities and arms so that it is stronger and less likely to fall. Having that comfort level will help you in situations such as wintery conditions. However, one of the biggest tips for staying safe from falls during the winter is to ask for, accept, and utilize help from others to get you from place to place safely.

Tips to Avoid Falls:

  • Make sure stairs & walkways are kept bare – use a safe de-icing product to get to the bare ground if you need to.
  • Wipe your feet when you enter a store. Walking with wet shoes can easily add to the many factors of falling.
  • Be certain that if you have hardwood floors you wear slippers with non-slip soles and never just socks/stockings.
  • Beware of throw rugs. In most cases it’s simply safer to just get rid of them since even on carpeted floors they can ripple & cause tripping.

Live Your Life Physical Therapy can help you get through any winter aches and pains that may come your way. Be safe this winter and stay healthy with our help!

Dedicated to Keeping You Healthy & Active,

Dr. Eva Norman
President & Founder
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Live Your Live Physical Therapy, LLC




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