A new year is upon us…
And with it comes the winter weather. It’s a good time to be mindful of the conditions, and know how your body can cope with this often undetectably strenuous season. It’s best to take preparations in case incidents specific to this time of year should befall you.
Take shovelling, for instance. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Just load a whole bunch of snow onto your shovel and throw it on the neighbor’s lawn! Well, there’s a lot more to it than just using the correct shoveling techniques. Did you know that just one scoop of snow can weigh anywhere between 5 – 10 pounds? That can make quite an impact on your back and can cause injury if you’re not using the proper shoveling techniques when lifting snow. Believe it or not, one way of being preventative is by doing more shoveling. Begin your task sooner rather than later; don’t wait for a whole bunch of the fluffy white stuff to settle and freeze over, becoming dense and packed. Take more trips outside your front door more often; that way, although it seems like you’re doing a lot more work, it’s actually less strenuous on the body. And if you have no choice but to get rid of it all in one shot, use smaller portions. Taking breaks is a must, and stretching beforehand and afterward is greatly encouraged. Using proper lifting techniques by bending at the knees, and shuffling rather than twisting, is the best way to decrease some of that load on your back. Using shovels with adjustable handles can also make tackling the job that less stressful. It’s also important to stay hydrated; if you don’t do any of these important steps, you’ll become overworked faster, which causes you to sweat sooner – and in the frigid cold, that could very possibly lead to hypothermia.
Another winter hazard is ice. We’ve all slipped and fallen on ice at some point in our lives. Not a very pleasant feeling. But did you know that just stopping yourself from falling can have an impact on a body that’s not well-aligned? The sudden seizing up of muscles may trigger latent problems that already exists in a person’s body. Therefore it is important to align yourself. Everything we do has an impact, no matter how small; everything accumulates. To use a dental analogy, it’s like plaque on your teeth; if you don’t brush, you get cavities. Same thing goes with the human body. If you don’t maintain yourself, and aren’t properly aligned, you are more susceptible to injury. Massages and chiropractic adjustments can help maintain and facilitate any further healing processes. Regardless of whether you have had previous back injuries or are noticing a build up of tension through this winter season, massage therapy can help to alleviate those symptoms. By increasing blood flow, decreasing tension and trigger points, and by giving you better range of motion – massage can make handling those winter tasks just that much easier – making a happier, healthier you.
So this winter, keep mindful during the many trials of winter. Be aware of your body and learn to pay attention to the signs. If your body is telling you it’s sore or needs a break, listen to it. With the proper care and treatment, the winter blues won’t seem so dark, and by the time the snow disappears, you’ll have a real spring in your step!
Written by: Ashley Rocheleau
Registered Massage Therapist / ART Provider – Back to Health Wellness Centre