As a polar vortex sweeps across most of the United States during this winter season it is important to be mindful and remember your self-care and body mechanics. Here are some tips to help you stay healthy and safe through the winter storms.
Body Mechanics While Shoveling
Keep your body mechanics in mind while clearing snow to keep you in good shape. When shoveling, it is a common mistake to bend at the waist to get leverage while scooping. This can lead to muscle strain in the back. Use your bone structure and larger leg muscles to get the same leverage by spreading your stance and bending at the knees. If you add a step forward while scooping you will get a stronger movement by calling on your leg muscles instead of the smaller spinal support muscles.
Heat Packs for Tension
If you are experiencing any tension or aches from being inactive during the snow storm or from all those snow angels, consider using a heat pack. Heat packs are a great way to loosen and warm up the muscles to release tension. Applying heat is best in segments of 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off. This prevents over exposure that can cause irritation or damage to the skin. Always keep in mind that if you are uncomfortable or the heat doesn't feel good, listen to your body and remove the source of heat. Light stretches can also help with tension and can be an alternative if heat isn't comfortable.
Keep yourself moving
When we are stuck inside our home for long periods of time it can be easy to slip into a routine of sitting on the couch for long periods of time either on the computer or binge watching a show. While its nice to relax occasionally it can become a habit that can lead to discomfort. Pay attention to your posture through the day. Keeping active can make a big difference in your day to day, even if its short durations of movement. Remind yourself to get up and walk around every 45 minutes. Do some stretches for each part of your body, you can find some suggestion in the stretch guides at the bottom of the ELMT website.
It may be cold but you still need water! Our bodies may not urge us to drink as frequently in cold weather as they would in hot weather when we are sweating. However our bodies still need regular water intake to function at their best. Coffee, tea, and cocoa are wonderful but plain water is important. Staying hydrated helps your muscles, tendons, and ligaments stay lubricated and function smoothly. It also contributes to good skin hydration. Lotion is a great addition to alleviate dry skin but drinking water will make the difference from the inside out.
We hope you stay safe and warm through the winter!