The holidays are a time of grand festivities and fun activities. However, amidst all this celebration may come the chance of an untimely injury. And the last thing you want is to be sidelined during this most wonderful time of year. Consider the following to avoid possible pitfalls during these holiday months:
Dress for Success
The first thing to consider is dressing appropriately for the weather. If you are uncomfortably cold all the time, this can impair your movements and just feel miserable in general. The best approach is to dress in layers that you can easily remove or reapply as needed.
Another thing you want to examine is the shoes or boots you are wearing. If you have a pair that you wear all year round, you want to make sure that the tread is sufficient to handle incidental icy surfaces you might encounter. Many people set aside shoes just for this season, but if you’ve been using that pair for some years, they may be due for replacement or even an upgrade.
Many homes do not have a mudroom to hang or store these winter clothes while not in use, but consider looking into a boot tray to catch water and ice that comes off your footwear once you come in from the cold. Slips and falls from snow and ice are some of the most common injuries during the holidays, and preventing these as much as possible will go a long way.
Proper Form While Shoveling
If you have a walkway you’re in charge of shoveling, you know what a chore it can be. During times of heavy precipitation, the ice and snow can add up, and moving it becomes quite the task. You may have heard people advising to lift with your legs and not your back when carrying heavy loads, and when it comes to shoveling snow, this is no different. Depending on the size of your driveway or walking path, the shovelfuls you’re throwing aside can surprisingly add up. For your best chances of avoiding an injury, always observe proper form with every swing of your shovel. If the snow is just a light dusting, you may want to consider an outdoor-grade push broom.
These can be highly effective for pushing light snow aside and may help you stay more upright during the task. As one more measure, another option may be a snowblower. It is true they can be expensive, are reliant on fuel, and while in use they can be quite noisy. But if chronic back pain or injury is a concern, they are a highly efficient way of dealing with heavy snow.
Keep Working Out
For many, it just becomes harder to move or stay motivated to remain active when it gets really cold. Even if someone is ordinarily on point with exercising during spring and summer, a lot of people would think it perfectly acceptable to take a break, even for a whole season. However, the human body thrives on remaining active, and exercise keeps the body supple and less prone to falling and injury. Some even prefer jogging in colder weather, as heart rate and dehydration levels are lower as opposed to winter. But if you are, understandably, a bit loathe running through more slippery surfaces and cold winds, there are plenty of indoor options to look into.
An indoor gym or health club can mitigate any effects of the weather, and during the holiday season, many of these organizations run promotional pricing for their services. If you have ever wanted to pick up yoga or dance, there may be indoor studios in your town you can contact to keep working out in a warm environment. The point is, exercise may be one of the most significant factors in remaining injury free, not just during the holidays but throughout the entire year.
Be wary on the Road
Having the use of an automobile is a significant convenience, but accidents on the road can be a severe source of injury. While some of these situations are, unfortunately, unavoidable, some preparation and maintenance can help in the long run. If you are between tune-ups, doing a routine maintenance check before winter sets in can not only improve your vehicle’s performance but may also prevent having to perform emergency maintenance during a cold, bleak morning. Checking antifreeze and washer fluid levels may also be prudent. If your region gets frigid enough, you may want to invest in freeze-resistant washer fluid.
If you’ve been on your current set of tires for quite some time and have been meaning to look into replacements, consider getting on that before winter weather blows through. A set of tires going bald may have a much harder time handling a slippery surface than ones with more tread on them. And finally, you will never want it to happen, but if your car breaks down or otherwise becomes inert while on the road, you may want an emergency kit to help with the situation. A flashlight with a strong beam, road flares or reflectors to make you as visible as possible, and an emergency blanket can all help a lot until you get moving again or help arrives.
Watch for Daylight
Even though the weather outside can become frightful, there are plenty of fun things to do outside during the season. Sledding or skiing down slopes, skating on ice, or even just walking out with warm clothing are all highly enjoyable. However, it is crucial to keep in mind that in winter, the sun tends to set much earlier than usual. While it may be tempting to stay outside and continue having a good time, things can become much more dangerous, with even a slight reduction in light. The hill you were safely sledding down just moments before can have dips or ramps that may be much harder to navigate if you cannot see them effectively. Head in when it starts becoming dark, and you can come back another day to continue the fun.
The holidays should be all about making memories and spending time with friends and loves ones. Proceed with a little caution, mind your environment, and you can enjoy the season without a pesky injury holding you back.