Days are getting shorter. Temperatures are getting colder. Although winter comes as no surprise, many of us never feel quite ready for its arrival.
However, winter doesn’t necessarily mean having to spend the next several months trapped indoors. Here are 3 simple tips to help you stay safe and active this winter.
1. SHOVELING SAFELY
Don’t see shoveling as a chore. Instead, try to see it as a valuable form of physical activity in the winter.
To avoid injuries, keep your back straight, bend from your hip and knees and avoid overreaching when shoveling. Push snow instead of lifting it, and make sure to stay hydrated.
If you have a joint injury or a chronic condition, you should consult a healthcare professional to ensure shoveling will not aggravate your condition. Before you head outside, you can also lower your risk of injury by warming up for about 10 minutes to prepare your body for the physical work ahead. Try squats, walking and/or stretching.
2. FUN OUTDOORS ACTIVITIES
Get out and enjoy the snow, dress appropriately and explore a new winter activity! Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are fun activities that the whole family can try.
Smaller snowshoes (with less flotation) are best for wet, compact snow while powder snow requires larger snowshoes (with more flotation). When considering a snowshoe's "recommended load", don’t forget to add the weight of your gear to your regular weight.
Don’t forget to bring poles as well, as they can help with balance and crossing slopes. Snowshoe poles, ski poles or trekking poles can all provide adequate support.
Lastly, consider bringing hand warmers and foot warmers. They’re small chemical packets that can prevent your fingers and toes from getting too cold.
3- GETTING EXERCISE IN THE WINTER
Getting exercise in the winter is more difficult (and staying in is more tempting), but try to set a weekly target of 150 minutes of “moderate-vigorous” aerobic activity. That doesn’t mean running a marathon. You can break up these minutes up into several 10 minutes exercise sessions.
But what does “moderate” aerobic activity mean? To find out, you can use the “talk test”: if you can talk, but can’t sing, this is a good indicator that you are at a moderate level of activity.
Remember: Exercise is medicine! If you’re not convinced, you can check out this video by Dr. Mike Evans titled “23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?” You will be pleasantly shocked by how effective exercise is and how realistic the goal of 150 minutes per week is.
Simply put, exercise has some of the broadest health benefits and can improve the health of individuals suffering from many different types of ailments or conditions. Even something as simple as walking more regularly can have broad health benefits.
If you’re struggling with an injury and would like to speak with a Lifemark clinician, check out our Locations page to find a clinic near you or book online to schedule an appointment at a Lifemark clinic near you.