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Stay Safe This Season

February 07, 2021 Posted in: Health & Wellness

Winter brings icy conditions and harsh weather that may lead to injury.

“Accidental injury is steady throughout the year, but when we transition into winter, we see patients with wrist and hip fractures and shoulder injuries,” said Graham Gandee, market director for Rehabilitation Services and Sports Medicine at CHI Saint Joseph Health. “Slippery sidewalks can cause falls, and people may be outside doing activities their bodies aren’t accustomed to.”

Gandee gave tips for how to be safe during these common winter activities:

Shoveling Snow

  • Pace yourself. Watch for signs of overdoing it, such as sweating or shortness of breath.
  • Take frequent rest breaks to avoid overheating.
  • Push the snow with a shovel off the walkways. Avoid lifting the shovel up and using a twisting motion to dump the snow.

Hitting the Slopes

  • Always warm up and stretch before the activity.
  • Don’t forget to cool down after the activity.
  • Go with a buddy who is familiar with the slopes.

Walking on Icy Surfaces

  • Wear boots with good traction.
  • Walk slowly and avoid sharp turns.
  • Avoid carrying too much, which can throw off your balance.

Outdoor Exercise

  • Wear appropriate layers. The innermost layer should be moisture wicking, middle layer should be insulating, and outermost layer should be thin and waterproof.
  • Stay hydrated.

“No matter if you are going out to ski or just to enjoy the fresh air, prepare your body for each activity,” Gandee said. “In most situations, this is the best way to stay safe this winter.”

Learn more about outpatient rehabilitation services at CHI Saint Joseph Health.

A version of this article originally appeared in the Winter 2021 edition of Spirit of Health. For more stories like this one, subscribe to Spirit of Health magazine today.

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