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Wintertime will soon be upon us, and it will bring snow, ice and sleet. These elements are great for sledding and having fun, but they can be dangerous. No one wants to slip and fall or pull a muscle in the wintertime. With a little planning and education, you can do a darn good job of preventing winter accidents and injuries.

Only YOU Can Prevent Winter Injuries

Preventing cold-weather accidents is simple. First, determine what type/types of activities you will probably perform outside this winter. Will you be shoveling snow? Will you partake in winter sports? Will you do both? Consider the following tips…

Steer clear of back pain and muscle strains/sprains – For those who are faced with the task of snow shoveling, back pain and muscle sprains and strains are a threat. To prevent these unpleasant side effects of shoveling, be sure to wear multiple layers of clothing when heading outdoors. This will keep your muscles warm and flexible. Also, warm up your muscles before heading outdoors by walking in place or, if your level of physical fitness permits, planking or doing jumping jacks. Last, see that you maintain proper form while shoveling by pushing the snow forward with your shovel, then carrying it, not haphazardly throwing it, to wherever you want to deposit it. (Bend those knees a little when handling loads of snow.)

Keep winter sports-related injuries at bay – When it comes to preventing injuries caused by winter sports, the secret is to warm your body up. The Accident and Injury Center makes the following helpful suggestions:

1. Before skiing, SLOWLY do 10 or 15 squats.

2. Before tobogganing, sit or lay on your back and “bring your knees to your chest for 30 seconds several times to guard against compression injuries caused by the shocks of bouncing down bumpy slopes.”

3. Before skating, do several lunges.

4. Don’t forget to cool down. Cooling down is just as important as warming up when it comes to injury prevention.

Avoid falls – To prevent falls this winter, ensure that your walkways are always shoveled and salted. If you cannot perform activities like these, enlist the help of a friend or family member. You’ll also want to take tiny steps on slick surfaces and wear proper snowshoes, or another type of shoe with good tread. Never hesitate to use an assistive walking device if you need one. Also, if falling is an issue for you, contact a medical professional as soon as possible.

Don’t dread the season ahead. Instead, embrace it. Use the advice in this article to prepare yourself for cold weather, but make an equal effort to enjoy the winter season.

How do you prevent falls, muscle sprains and other winter-related injuries?

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