Your back and knees are some of your most valuable body parts—and the most at-risk during this blistery time of year. Avoid slipping on ice or pulling your back by following these tips on how to protect your body.
A solid fitness routine along with these six tips can help you survive various winter activities in one piece.
Before tackling any snow shoveling, ice scraping, or any other winter maintenance, give yourself time to stretch. This allows your muscles time to adjust before you throw them into high gear during activities you don’t typically perform.
These three stretching exercises from AARP are especially helpful for the back.
Exercise at Home
Easy at-home exercises will help keep your body active if winter weather prevents you from connecting with your personal trainer or getting to the gym. Doing so will help you protect your body by maintaining mobility and keeping or even building core strength. Core strength helps prevent back-muscle strain and sustains your ability to maintain proper balance.
Know Your Boundaries
Survey the area you’ll be shoveling before you start. Look for icy patches, dips in the terrain, any kind of off-level surface that could pose a threat. You want to avoid twisting, slipping, or jerking your body as a reaction to losing balance. Always wear traction footwear, like snow boots, while outside.
Use the Right Tools
Ergonomic shovels and scrapers can help protect your body during winter by easing the strain on your back and knees during winter maintenance tasks. One piece in particular, the Heft, easily attaches to a shovel at a 90-degree angle to allow the user to remain more upright while lifting. Also, opt for a roof rake to eliminate ice dams while keeping your feet on the ground instead of trying to use a ladder in slippery areas when clearing trouble spots on the roof. Visit your local hardware store before snow falls to browse the options that best suit your needs and have them available when you need them.
Protect your skin from frostbite. Even if the thermometer reads above freezing, the threat of frostbite still exists. Wind chill and humidity play a role and often aren’t factored into temperature readings. Also, you’re likely to sweat when shoveling, which can lead to wet clothing. This can decrease your body temperature.
Always layer up when heading outdoors in the winter. You want to be sure your body is properly insulated for blistery conditions. The outer layer should be windproof and water-resistant. The first layer should be a wicking type of fabric, like Under Armour, a polyester fabric that doesn’t soak up sweat. And don’t forget protective gloves (maybe even mittens, which keep hands warmer) and wool socks.
Ask for Help
Consider hiring someone to do the winter maintenance for you. Young neighborhood kids are often more than happy to earn a few extra dollars to help folks clear their driveways and pathways. If necessary, sweeten the deal with hot chocolate and some cookies. An able-bodied youngster with a sweet tooth may be just what you need.
Protect your body during winter so you’re able to enjoy exciting activities all year long. Looking to get in shape? Contact the team at Cause and Effects Fitness for a free fitness consultation with one of our certified personal trainers and nutrition coach.