Most people have mixed feelings about winter weather. Love it or hate it – it’s ultimately impossible to avoid dealing with the perils of winter weather. One way or another, you’ll have to go out and brace the cold and possibly dangerous conditions, whether you’re taking your little ones out to play or simply trying to clear out your driveway. It’s important to be sure you’re mindful of the possibility of a slip and fall injury, straining your back with a snow shovel, or pulling a muscle flying down a hill on a sled.
Being eager to clear off your sidewalks and driveways is completely understandable. Not everyone has the flexibility to embrace a snow day off. Eventually, you’ll have to dig yourself out. Just be smart about it!
Here are a few quick tips to make sure you don’t strain your back or fall while trying to shovel your snow:
Prepare Ahead of Time – If possible, do your best to lay down salt before the storm. This will help to lessen the amount of snow and ice that piles up, saving you from heavy lifting.
Shovel at the Right Time – Be aware of how much snowfall to expect. If they’re predicting a lot, you might benefit from shoveling a few lighter layers of snow instead of waiting until it has all fallen. Just be sure to bundle up when you’re out in the elements! If you only expect a light dusting to a few inches, waiting until it’s all over with will work just fine.
Use the Proper Techniques: It’s easy to strain your lower back while shoveling if you aren’t holding the shovel properly or using the right muscles to lift. First, you want to make sure your muscles are warmed up enough to combat the cold weather. You can use a heat wrap or heating pad shortly before you go out to shovel to be sure your muscles are nice and loose. Also, make sure you’re using a proper snow shovel that has a curved or adjustable length handle to help with leverage. Finally, bending with your knees rather than your back will protect your muscles and give you more strength to lift the snow. Don’t forget to pivot your entire body instead of twisting to toss the snow away.
Snow days often bring out the kid inside of all of us, especially when you have little ones! If you’re going out to brave the cold for the thrill of sledding, make sure you take the proper precautions to keep you and your family safe.
Bundle Up – Wearing the proper attire will not only prevent you from frostbite or the dangers of getting sick, but will also help to keep your muscles warm. Sledding often requires fast reaction times and strength. Keeping your muscles warm and limber will help you react appropriately without straining your muscles.
Scope Out Your Hill – Picking the right hill to sled is essential to both your amount of fun and safety. Make sure there are no objects like trees, buildings, or cars that obstruct the path you’ll be sledding. Also, make sure there is nothing dangerous waiting at the bottom of the hill like a pond.
Feel Out The Speed –They say no two snowflakes are the same. That goes for each snowfall, too! There’s a major impact on the speed of your sled between soft, dusty snow and slick, icy snow. It’s a great idea to push your sled down without a rider to test just how slick the hill will be.
Even if you stay on top of shoveling your walkways, the melting and freezing cycle that winter weather often brings can leave surprises on your already cleared surfaces. If you’re walking across a questionable surface, be mindful of each step, testing the surface before you apply your body weight.
The writing team at Tuck Chiropractic.
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