How to Prevent Injuries in the Snow

Did you happen to look outside yesterday morning?  It snowed, a lot!  As Minnesotans we have been down this road before.  Shoveling cars out, helping strangers push their cars through the streets, and snow blowing side walks.  While the white stuff falling from the sky creates some beautiful winter wonderlands, promise of fun winter activities, and an overall beautiful north land, snow can also lead to some serious injuries that are preventable with some simple tricks. Here are some tips for how to prevent injuries in the snow.
Shoveling, especially after a storm like we just got, leads to way too many back injuries.  It amazes me how many CrossFit, yoga, Alchemy, and FlyFeet athletes we have coming in who rarely get hurt during their exercise efforts.  But put a shovel in their hand and 4 inches of snow–they blow their back out, sprain their neck, or injure their shoulders.  Shoveling, without proper form or mindfulness, can and often does lead to injury!
How to prevent injury while shoveling:
  1. Warm up!  You do this for your workouts, why wouldn’t you do it for shoveling 10 inches of snow?  Stretch, move, and get your muscles ready.
  2. Take small bites!  No this isn’t an eating blog, we know.  You aren’t a snow plow.  Simply take smaller bites with your shovel and take your time.
  3. Bend your knees and waist, not your back!  When we bend at the back and lift snow away from our body, we are primed for injury.  Bend at the knees and waist, take a small scoop, and toss it.  Use the same mindfulness that you use when doing a deadlift or thruster at the gym.  Be intentional with your movement!
Driving on roads like these leads to accidents, simple as that.  Accidents can be scary, frustrating, and nerve racking.
  1. Prep your car.  A seemingly obvious task, but too many people rush and forget to do this.  Remove the snow from your car, make sure you can see out of your mirrors, and make sure that people can see your lights. All of them!  If snow is covering your lights, and the person behind you can’t see your brakes or turn signals, you’re asking for an accident.
  2. Take your time and leave plenty of space.  This isnt a Nascar race.  Leave early and expect to drive slower than you typically do.  Being in a frustrated rush in conditions like these leads to accidents.  Take your time, and drive mindfully.
The most basic of tasks, which we learned to do as toddlers, becomes exponentially harder in conditions like these.  Sidewalks are slick, there are mountains of snow to cross, and the relationships between walking pedestrians and cars gets much more intimate.
Here are some ideas to help make your walking commute safer, and help to avoid the dreaded car versus human accident.
  1. Dress appropriately.  Wearing your Sperry Top Siders probably isn’t the best decision on a day like this.  Wear a boot with good traction. This can help you make confident steps on slippery surfaces.
  2. Again, TAKE YOUR TIME.  This isn’t the time to train for the 2020 Summer Olympic speed walking event.  Walk confidently, but slowly.
  3. Be aware of cars.  While you may be walking confidently, slowly, and with the proper gear, you have no idea the condition of the roads or of the cars that are driving on those roads.  It takes one nervous driver, without snow tires or proper brakes, to ruin your stroll into work.  Give the cars space and proceed cautiously anytime you are around them in conditions like these.
Long story short, take your time, move intentionally, and enjoy the snow!  
Until next time! Be well,
Dr. Andy
2018-01-24T09:44:02-06:00 January 24th, 2018|Adults, Wellness|