Last week much of the country was experiencing extreme weather. Thankfully here in northwest Indiana, we are amazed at what a difference a week makes!
Krystal Quagliara of Krystalized Health Advisors shared with me great insights into how to prepare for any future shoveling showdowns! A must read for those that collapsed on the couch with a heating pad after braving the elements!
Winter Injuries - Have you trained to deal with the snow and cold?
If you live in the United States, outside maybe the coastal states like California and Florida, you’ve been experiencing a snowy/wintry February in 2021. I actually just came in from removing over a foot of snow from my deck, sidewalks, driveway and car.
It occurred to me as I was sweating underneath my winter coat, vest, long-sleeved shirt and two pairs of pants, that shoveling snow was a total body workout! Any other time I was about to get a total sweat session, I certainly wouldn’t skip my warmup and cooldown. However, for the many many years I have shoveled and scraped and slid around digging my car out of the driveway, I had never actually gone through a warmup and cooldown. And to be frankly honest, I FEEL THE BURN - Yikes!
I know you might be thinking, “Krystal, just buy a snow blower!” There are actually many situations when a snow blower can still not get to every place I need to remove the snow!
So, this is my PSA to you. Winter injuries with snow and ice are a real risk for many people. Before I get into the risks and how to train your body for “winter activities”, let me share just a few tips on how to manage the cold and snow by preparing your muscles and recovering them safely.
Warming up your body before heading outdoors is extremely beneficial. Your muscles are comparable to a rubber band. If it’s too cold, it could snap if stretched too far.
Allowing your muscles to warm up gradually before use reduces the risk of pulling injuries. It also creates greater flexibility. A warm up could consist of torso rotations, arm circles, knee lifts, toe touches, lunges and hip openers. Please refer to this YouTube Video for a pre-shoveling warm up.
“Cooling down” or stretching after your shoveling escapades is instrumental in reducing DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), inflammation, blood pooling and tightness in your muscles. Consider about 5-10 minutes of stretching after shoveling. This video may help you with some of the stretches.
More seriously, every year, more than 10,000 people enter the ER with snow shoveling related health problems.
Most of these are reported cardiovascular episodes. According to Dr. Luke Laffin at the Cleveland Clinic, if you have one or more underlying health risks and you are over the age of 55, you should consider having someone else shovel snow. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/snow-shoveling-a-real-risk-for-heart-attack
Cardiac related emergencies aside, are you in the right shape to be shoveling?
- Can you lift 25 pounds with proper “form” without feeling lower back pain?
- Do you have strong enough hamstrings, core muscles (stomach and back) and upper body strength to lift or push snow without undue stress on your body?
Strength is not the only factor to consider.
Balance and agility play a key role in how well you can “weather” the snow. (Pun intended!) Balance and agility are the things that help you stay upright. When the wind blows strong or you step on a patch of black ice, your core muscles and balance prevent falling. Agility is the ability to recover your stance when you feel you are slipping or sliding off balance.
If you feel you are perhaps not in the optimal physical shape to be shoveling and navigating snow and ice in the winter, it might be time to consider an exercise/training program to prepare your body better. A training program can improve your strength, mobility, balance and agility as well as your cardiovascular endurance.
About Krystal Quagliara
Krystal Quagliara, owner/founder of Krystalized Health Advisors, has worked with clients in the Health and Fitness industry since 2004. Throughout her years of service, Krystal discovered the importance of establishing healthy lifestyle habits, accountability and community support for her clients' success.
From one-on-one health and fitness coaching, virtual group and individual coaching packages, Krystal offers something for everyone. Her YouTube Channel offers home workouts, coaching and podcast interviews.
In January 2020, Krystal began "The Playful Life" podcast. The podcast features topics and interviews with physicians, mental health practitioners, alternative medicine practitioners, massage therapists, fitness professionals and more. Krystal believes, "living our best life, requires embracing a playful mindset to health and discovering what makes our souls happy."