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Outdoor Winter Safety Tips

EDINA, Minn., Jan. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- As we try to get outside and make the most of these cold winter months, it's important to use basic safety tips that help minimize injury. The Minnesota Chiropractic Association (MCA) offers the following tips to help keep your family injury free.

Sledding/tobogganing -- Warm up first by doing knee-to-chest stretches to fight compression injuries caused by repetitive bouncing over the snow. Either sitting or lying on your back, pull your knees to your chest and hold for 30 seconds.

When sledding, the preferred method is to sit on knees (or in a kneeling position) to minimize compressive forces on the spine and intervertebral discs. Avoid jumps and slopes where you could become airborne.

Skiing -- Warm up first by doing 10 to 15 squats. Stand with your legs shoulder width apart, knees aligned over your feet. Slowly lower your buttocks as you bend your knees over your feet. Stand up straight again.

Shoveling snow can wreak havoc on the musculoskeletal system. If you must shovel, be careful. Listen to weather forecasts so you can rise early and have time to shovel before work. Layer your clothing to keep muscles warm and flexible.

Shoveling can strain "de-conditioned" muscles between your shoulders, in your upper back, lower back, buttocks and legs. So, do some warm-up stretching before you grab that shovel. When you do shovel, push the snow straight ahead. Don't try to throw it. Walk it to the snow bank. Avoid sudden twisting and turning motions.

Bend your knees to lift when shoveling. Let the muscles of your legs and arms do the work, not your back. Take frequent rest breaks to take the strain off your muscles. A fatigued body asks for injury. Stop if you feel chest pain, or get really tired or have shortness of breath. You may need immediate professional help.

After any of these activities, if you are sore, apply an ice bag to the affected area for 20 minutes, then take it off for a couple of hours. Repeat a couple of times each day over the next day or two. If you continue to feel soreness, pain or strain after following these tips, it may be time to visit a doctor of chiropractic. Go to to find a doctor near you.

     Debra Hurston

SOURCE Minnesota Chiropractic Association
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