According to the Centers for Disease Control, this winter, more than 50,000 Americans will wind up with a winter-related back injury. Here are 5 activities that could put you at risk:
Much of the country will have at least a few inches of snow in the next few months. If you have sidewalks or driveways around your home, that means shoveling. Here are some quick tips to avoid a back injury when clearing the snow.
-Lift with your legs, not your back.
-Don’t overload your shovel.
-Don’t twist and throw the snow; walk it over.
-Be ambidextrous (if you’re so inclined).
-Hire the neighbor kid, get a snowblower, or move to California!
Take a look around your neighborhood. Chances are holiday decorations range mightily from restrained to ridiculous. Whatever your capacity for decorating madness, take some precautions to avoid back injury. First, don’t work alone. Having an extra set of hands and an additional pair of eyes is your first line of defense. Second, there is no doubt climbing a ladder will be a part of your efforts--up the tree, into the attic, on the roof. Be efficient and take as few trips up and down as possible. Use a spotter to take or give necessary items so you aren’t forced to overreach or awkwardly twist.
If you’re planning on heading out of town this winter, take notice of your luggage. Are you overpacking? Does your luggage have wheels and handles so you can pull it behind you? If your luggage isn’t up to par, take the opportunity to ask Santa for an upgrade.
The same rules go for shopping too. Don’t get caught hauling around too many shopping bags. Make multiple trips out to the car if you have to. It’s worth the extra few minutes to not hurt yourself. As always, lift with your legs! You can even ask retail clerks for a little help, particularly at big box stores. And think about spreading the cheer by throwing your holiday helpers a few bucks as they close your trunk.
While the summer sun is a fabulous accompaniment to an outdoor run or a game of beach volleyball, the shorter and colder days of winter beg for a warm fire, a cozy blanket and a good book. The more sedentary your habits, the more prone you are to back injury. Laying or sitting on couches and sofas provides little support for your back and can result in the tightening of certain muscle groups--hip flexors and hamstrings--that can directly lead to back pain. While it is best to get regular aerobic and strength exercise, If you can’t muster up the energy to get to the gym, try these 5 indoor at-home exercises as an alternative.
Remember to stay active, watch your movements and pay a little extra attention to your winter habits. Keep from being laid up with back pain this New Year’s Eve.