The holiday music is playing, the mountain peaks are dusted with snow, the Christmas tree is up, the cookies are frosted, and the presents are wrapped. This only means one thing…
Winter is coming!
With the beauty and joy of the holiday season right around the corner, don’t let your posture get you down. Many common injuries happen in the winter time. With proper posture you can prevent the downfalls of winter and end the year with your best posture!
Did you know…
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 246,000 people were treated at hospitals, doctors’ offices, and emergency rooms for injuries related to winter sports in 2015. Injuries are common in the winter season due to elevated risk of blizzard weather conditions, slippery surfaces, and foggy visibility.
Snow sports are the best! Don’t be afraid to get out there and enjoy the fun of winter. However, recognize that without proper postural preparation you may be at an increased risk of injury.
In fact, in 2015 there were…
- 88,000 injuries from snow skiing
- 61,000 injuries from snowboarding
- 50,000 injuries from ice skating
- 47,000 injuries from sledding, tobogganing, and snow tubing
Have no fear that winter is coming! We have Got Your Back this holiday season with these Winter Posture Tips!
Walking in a Winter Wonderland: While taking a nice winter walk, always put safety first.
- Watch for icy patches, wait for paths to clear of ice and snow when possible
- Wear shoes with adequate support and proper tread and grip for winter conditions
- Wear warm clothing to prevent overly contracted neck and shoulder muscles
- Walk with heel-to-toe gait patterns, don’t shuffle or glide on the ice
- Contract your core musculature to protect your spine
- Don’t walk too fast, focus on slower controlled gait patterns with proper posture
- Don’t grit your teeth from the cold, relax your jaw and the musculature of your face and neck
Strong Shoveling: Shoveling is an athletic activity, prepare your body with proper posture and athleticism.
- Shoveling is a cold activity, warm up your spine by stretching first
- Bend your knees and keep your back straight
- Keep your feet apart and have a strong low stance
- Scoop and lift upwards with your legs, not your back
- Don’t shovel more than you can handle, don’t strain your back by filling too much snow in the shovel
- Keep the shovel close to your body making it easier to lift
- Point your feet in the direction you want to throw the snow, don’t twist your spine
- Push the snow forward if possible, instead of throwing it to the side
- Take frequent breaks and don’t over do it!
Ergonomic Elves: How could Santa’s elves make all of those presents without proper posture? Think ergonomics for best holiday cheer and productivity!
- While wrapping gifts use a standing desk to keep the presents at a comfortable height where you don’t have to slouch down to wrap the gift
- When placing gifts under the tree, use proper lifting techniques. Lift with your legs, not your back
- Take frequent Posture Breaks while preparing the holiday meal. Don’t slave away in the kitchen for hours without taking frequent posture breaks to save your spine
Warm Up Before Cold Sports: Don’t be a statistic! Winter sports are cold by nature, you need to properly warm up your spine and muscles before engaging in winter athletic activities.
- Wear adequate clothing to keep you warm while allowing you to move comfortably and freely
- Stretch large muscle groups before hitting the slopes
- Move your joints with mobility drills before heading outdoors
- Keep your circulation flowing. While on the chairlift or before a run, swing your arms and legs to keep the blood flowing
- Keep warm by moving, if not your muscles with stiffen and have less flexibility and range of motion
Whether you like to be outside building a snowman, on the slopes skiing, or inside making holiday cookies, always bring your best posture with you. Proper posture during the winter season will save your back so you can focus on the joy of the holidays not the downfalls of winter.
The American Posture Institute recommends having a Yearly Posture Evaluation by a Certified Posture Expert in your community. Make the choice to start the New Year with aligned and healthy posture.
The best health is achieved through prevention. Yearly Posture Evaluations will help you detect early onset postural distortion patterns that may cause pain and injury. Early detection and correction is the key to proper posture.
Remember, winter is coming! Enjoy the holidays with joy and good health, and begin the New Year with optimal postural design for your healthiest and most productive year yet!
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (2016) Winter Sports Injury Prevention, Ortho Info. Retrieved from http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/.