Is This The Winter New Normal?
Slip and falls choose no specific season, yet there are certain times when the risk is significantly higher. Wintertime, being the most dreaded of all.
Ten winters ago, we wouldn’t have imagined the extreme weather pattern and record-breaking temperatures we are experiencing today. Inevitably, increasing the prevalence of fall-related injuries. Please no. Please
Fall injuries can and will affect our health, the experiences we can have, and our freedom.
Wintertime may be the most challenging season, but it gives us the incentive to take necessary precautions. In turn, leading us to the most important piece of fall prevention: AWARENESS.
It takes cognizance to outsmart something that may knock you down
… and a little bit of wardrobe check with some walking lessons from our penguin friends. (Who can teach us to walk on ice better than the ones who have lived on it their whole life!)
Ever Wondered Why We Treat Injuries with Ice After We Slipped on Ice?
Ice packs reduce nerve activity around the affected area, decreasing blood circulation, in turn, reducing inflammation and numbing the pain.
Now, imagine you are out in the cold. Your body receives a giant ice pack, reducing blood flow all over your body which makes your joints and muscle tissues stiff, resulting in decreased power, speed, and agility- the perfect recipe for a fall!
Let’s go through some winter reminders that can save your winter experience:
- Warm-up: Muscles work harder in cold temperatures. Warming up will increase your internal temperature to help your body respond faster and work more efficiently.
- Dress Warm: Some people tend to go out on robes for brief trips to the garage or to check the mailbox. But sometimes, these brief trips can turn into an emergency trip. Keeping your muscles warm is essential to avoiding injuries. A proper winter outfit serves to protect you on the outside from wind chill and on the inside to maintain your body heat. So, is your wardrobe winter-ready?
- Shoes for Traction: Your feet need their own reliable armor against cold and slippery surfaces.
- No Pocketing!: It’s tempting to keep your hands in your pocket to keep them warm. But this is dangerous. It throws off your balance and it takes time to pull them out in case of an emergency. You need your hands out and swinging while you walk. Wear gloves instead! It’s safer and more fashionable.
- Protect Your Eyes: Several systems work together to achieve balance, but among them, vision is responsible for providing critical information. Protecting your vision does not need to be complicated. Most of the time, wearing prescription glasses will do the trick. And don’t forget to have your eyes regularly checked. Your physician can also help you develop a preventive action plan to reduce your fall risk.
- Watch Your Steps!: Walk on cleared paths and don’t take shortcuts. Beware of snowy surfaces and grassy slopes.
- Waddle like a Penguin: Keep your toes pointed out and your knees loose. Take small steps, and gradually widen your stance. Walk slowly and carefully with each step.
- Stay Fit: The cold weather will pull you under your blankets. But keeping up with your regular exercise routine is extremely important in maintaining your muscle strength and balance. Keep your foundations as strong as possible. That way, you will multiple the impact provided by the above precautions.
If you are already practicing the suggestions on our list, that is very commendable!
Accidents happen in a split second and when we least expect them. The key is to never underestimate the risks.
We can do our best to clear our pathways. But, external factors are out of our control most of the time.
Develop the ability to spot changes in your body. Any weakness or pain, no matter how small they are, can provide clues to help you manage your health and overall well-being.
Always be mindful of yourself and your environment. Take awareness into the equation, and you’re good to go!
Stay safe and complete your winter experience with a warm cup of tea and a stunning view of the winter wonderland outside your window.
Have a safe and magical winter!