Sleigh bells ring
Are you listening?
In the lane
Snow is glistening
A beautiful sight
We're happy tonight
Walking in a winter wonderland…
Friends, walking in a Winter Wonderland does not have to be the last thing on your wish list this year! I understand that icy roads, slippery driveways, hard-to-see conditions, and brisk winds can easily turn into an icy nightmare. Here are four tips to keep in mind when preparing for this winter season and staying injury free!
1. Pay more attention to your steps and learn how to fall!
The most common cause of injury during the winter time is related to falls on the ice. Whether it is a bruised hip, sprained ankle, muscle strain, or concussion, that pesky ice is the biggest culprit! Here at Engage, we hope to never hear about falls. But we know that they happen, and if you are going to go down, let’s talk about how to keep yourself as safe as possible while falling.
Falling onto your side can help to prevent a head injury or back injury. You might have a tendency to try and break your fall with your hands and elbows…This is a hard habit to break! Did you know that in most PT clinics, March and April is the most common time to rehabilitate someone who broke their arm or wrist? It’s because from December-February, they were casted from a fall on ice. We don’t want you to be that statistic this year! Keeping your wrist and knees slightly bent can have to avoid muscle strains from stretching your muscles too tight during impact. When falling, it is best to have as much of your body contact the ground as possible to spread the area of impact.
But let’s talk about the best case scenario, avoiding a fall all together! Try to take some extra time and care in watching where you’re going and where you are stepping. Keep those eyes peeled for some black ice or slippery areas to prevent a fall in the first place.
2. Always check that Weather Forecast!
Here is another tip that requires you to pay closer attention. The majority of accidents occur in moderate to severe weather conditions. Keep your eyes and ears tuned into the weather station so you can prepare your outings around the weather, especially if you are extra cautious and nervous navigating in the tundras of the winter time. Avoid being out during the thick of a winter storm. Maybe try going to the store before or after the storm to avoid increased challenges with walking and navigating in addition to driving!
3. Wear the Proper Clothing and use the Proper Tools
You know that here at engage we love our walking poles! These are great tools to use in the winter for added support. Most poles have a pick attachment that helps when walking over icy or snowy terrain. If you typically use an assistive device to walk during the spring or summer, don’t leave it behind for the winter! Make sure to dress nice and warm as well. Our body’s ability to react to changes in our balance or surroundings is delayed if we are cold! Bundle up for the Central New York Tundra and keep on moving!
4. Warm up, Cool Down, and Stretch
It is always important to warm up and cool down when completing any type of physical activity, but it is especially important during the cold winter weather. Make sure you are warming up your muscles and taking the time to stretch at the end of a workout to keep your body happy and healthy. It’s harder to remember to warm up and cool down when your going out to shovel, chop wood, or trudge through that knee-high snow. But, all of those things get your heart PUMPING. Before heading outside to shovel the side walk, do a short warm up to avoid muscle injuries, aches, and a huge spike in your heart rate. Then, take the time to stretch and cool down before cozying back up inside!
Here at Engage, our therapists and staff always have your well being in mind. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or concerns about how to manage these Winter Months. Face those plans unafraid and enjoy walking in the Winter Wonderland this season!
As we dream, by the fire
To face unafraid
The plans that we’ve made
Walking in a Winter Wonderland