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Have you ever thought that a season could hurt you? Here’s my theory: Winter is out to get us all. I’ve compiled a list of ways Winter will attack but have also provided 7 winter health tips to help keep you safe.
In this article, we will reveal some underestimated negative consequences of cold winter weather. This should be all you need to get to Spring time unscathed.
1. Winter Attire
Hats, scarves, hooded coats and sweaters cause the head to sit further forward than normally when driving. If your back is supported by the car seat, your head should be close or in contact with the head rest. Excessive winter attire can cause your head to sit in front of your of your spine instead of over it. When this happens it can cause a “forward head posture” which has been linked with neck and shoulder pain, as well as headaches.
Warm up your car before you leave that way you can unbundle a little bit during your drive. You can even listen to a little Bieber while you wait.
2. Cold Temperature
Cold temperatures cause our tissues to be less compliant and tolerate less overall load or stress. See how far you can bend a frozen celery stick compared to one that is at room temperature or warm. This is the same reason you don’t want to stretch cold muscles and why it’s important to have include a dynamic warm up prior to a stretching routine (see 5 Quick Tips for Better Stretching).
Make sure to warm up before starting a stretching routine. Static stretching should not be used instead of a warm up.
3. Impaired sensation
Decreased sensation and dexterity is also associated with cold temperatures, which
means we may overuse our smaller intrinsic muscles when completing tasks that require precision, like texting without embarrassing mistakes.
This could lead to repetitive muscle strain. Ever try shuffling a deck of cards when your hands are cold? You’ll end up playing 52 pickup instead. A pair of touch screen gloves may do the trick for texting but you’ll likely want to take your euchre game inside.
4. Snow Shovelling
Shovelling snow is likely my least favourite part of winter. The obvious issue here is the heavy lifting and the risk of low back pain. Consider this though. Scraping the driveway with the shovel causes vibration on the handle. This is even worse when you accidentally run into a solid piece of ice that jolts you to a sudden stop. This could lead to carpal tunnel syndrome or a wrist strain or sprain.
When shovelling try to keep the loads small and manageable. Alternate your hand grip positions frequently to give your muscles some recovery time. An ergonomic shovel may be worth your while too.
Stress associated with holiday shopping, bad drivers, mall parking lots, and family drama can suppress our immune system making it more difficult to recover from injury and illness.
Try to take a positive outlook and not let the little things bother you. ‘Tis the season. Don’t forget to take your Vitamin C to boost your immune system.
6. Weight Gain
Increased inactivity combined with excess eating around the holidays makes it way too easy to pack on a few extra pounds. More weight means more load on our joints, which could cause lower extremity joint pain.
Low impact exercises you can do indoors can help offset the weight gain while being kind to your knees.
Try the following low impact exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home.
Although this is listed as one of the winter health tips, indoor workouts are great all year round.
7. Slippery Ice
Slip and falls on ice could cause a variety of injuries including fractures and concussion depending on how graceful or ungraceful you make it look. What’s worse is a bruised ego could ensue if you have any witnesses.
Try boot cleats to help improve your traction and keep you upright.
Please feel free to comment at the bottom if you’ve experienced one of these problems and used these winter health tips.
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