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Staying healthy and happy this winter

Staying healthy and happy this winter

Now that the holiday season is behind us and a new year is here, now is the perfect time to focus on keeping yourself healthy and happy. For some, a chronic injury could have them spending more time indoors, while others could be hitting the slopes without proper prevention, ultimately putting them at risk for an injury. No matter what your current situation is, the below tips can ensure you have a safe and more active winter:

Protecting Your Joints and Bones This Winter

Joint Prevention Tips

If you are already living with joint inflammation and pain, the cold winter weather can often leave us spending more days indoors due to further flare-ups. Moving your daily activities inside can reduce your chance of pain, it does not mean you have to stay locked indoors throughout the winter months. Here are a few ways to still enjoy your favorite cold-weather activities.

Prepare for the weather ahead: Before going outdoors, bundle up and check that all of your gear is in top shape. Worn-out clothing or equipment that doesn’t fit properly will make you more prone to an injury when out in the elements. Most importantly, listen to your body. If you wake up having a bad day or are already stiff before you make it outdoors, you’ll want to take the extra time to warm up and start slow. If the aching is making it hard to even get out of bed, it’s best to skip the day altogether.

Warm-up and practice your form: No matter what your activity is, a proper warm-up should never be ignored. Cold, stiff muscles will be more prone to an injury. By stretching them before you go full-force into your routine, you are doing your part to prevent yourself from doing unnecessary damage. If it’s your first time practicing a winter sport, like skiing or snowboarding, it might be best to take lessons. A professional instructor can provide you with safety tips, teach you the proper form, and show you how to brace yourself in case a fall does occur. All of this will start you off on the road to success.

Never go alone: Lastly, going out on a winter adventure alone could leave you in a dangerous situation. In the case of an emergency or accident, having someone with you will keep you safe from being stranded on the slopes with a twisted ankle by yourself.

For more on ways to prevent winter joint pain without having to stay indoors, read Four Ways to Prevent Winter Joint Pain.

Further Protecting Yourself During Winter Activities

Now you might already be a pro at skiing, hiking, or hunting, but are you taking the time to make sure you give your body the tools it needs to do a task without the extra stress? Even the most seasoned skier will fall at times, making it essential to always wear proper gear and fall with ease. Don’t forget to:

  • Listen to your body and don’t push yourself when pain or fatigue kick in.
  • Layer up to avoid wind burn or frostbite.
  • Wear proper footwear and moisture-wicking socks.
  • Double-check that your helmet is always the appropriate fit.

Avoid Slips or Falls

Another common winter occurrence that has many indoors for weeks on end is a slip or a fall. Between the mounds of snow and the hidden black ice, even two steps outside can have you off your feet and on the ground in no time. On those colder-than-average days, when you are venturing out past the ice and snow, remember to:

  • Wear the right slip-proof shoes.
  • Walk slowly and carefully in case black ice is present.
  • Shovel snow by bending at your knees, never your back.
  • Be sure to never overload your shovel with heavy snow.
  • Walk flat-footed and slow, avoiding steps and curbs when possible.

Keep yourself safe from a slip and fall this winter by reading more tips in our Avoiding Slipping and Falling This Winter blog.

Getting Better Treatment When Injured

Now, if you are suffering from a recurring injury or find yourself with a sudden new one, speaking to your doctor about the pain you feel you might seem like a simple task. Still, often the words you use and how you talk to your doctor about the impact the injury has made in your life could make a significant difference in the type of treatment you receive. Being as descriptive as possible is the best way to get to the source of your issue. For some, keeping a diary can help with recall and allow for your doctor to see patterns of when your pain occurs. Remember to:

  • Use descriptive words of where and how the pain feels.
  • List when the pain sets in and what you were doing before it did.
  • Keep track of how long it lasts and if it moves.
  • Detail how it alters your day-to-day activities.

Some may even ask you to describe your pain on a one to ten scale. If you are unsure of what they are looking for at each number, talk to your doctor so you can give the most accurate answer possible. Overall, your doctor will be looking at your face and your reaction for signs of extreme pain.

Read on » The Importance of Describing Your Pain

No matter your skill level, proper precautions should always be taken in the winter months so that you can have a safe, active, and healthy season.

If an injury does occur or constant pain is altering your daily life, Powder River Orthopedics & Spine (PROS) is here to help in Gillette, Wyoming. We can evaluate your options so you can rest assured that you get the best possible outcome and are back to a happy and active life in no time.

Call the PROS at 307.686.1413 or visit www.cchwyo.org/PROS to learn more.