Prepare Yourself For Winter Activities Before Jumping In

So you’re ready to hit the slopes this winter and enjoy some skiing and snowboarding, are you?  That sounds fantastic!  Unfortunately, for all the fun to be had, those types of activities can also lead to serious injury.  Here are the best ways to avoid getting hurt while you’re out there having fun:

Start Getting Ready For Winter Fun Early

This is the single biggest thing you can do to minimize your risk of injury on the slopes.  For best results, start conditioning your body at least three months in advance of your first outing. If time is short, then you can do enough to see some real benefits using four to six weeks of lead time.

Begin by walking for at least thirty minutes a day for a minimum of five days a week, and work up from there if you feel comfortable.  Then, build on that by engaging in exercises that target the specific muscle groups you’ll be using when you start engaging in your favorite wintertime activity.  The training will help prepare your body for the rigors ahead!

Warm Up, Warm Up, Warm Up!

On the day of your first outing, don’t just spring out of bed, get dressed and hit the slopes.  Start the day with some stretching and a few warm up exercises designed to limber your muscles and get them ready for the paces you’ll soon be putting them through.

Cool Down!

Every bit as important as the warm up, is the cool down.  After a hard day on the slopes, your muscles are bound to be aching and tired.  Do some last minute stretching to wrap up the day. Be sure you’ve got a source of heat and ice ready, to help soothe those aching muscles.

While there’s no one magic solution that can reduce your chances of injury to zero, following these simple steps will go a long way toward ensuring a safe and relatively pain free holiday sporting season!

Avoid Cold Weather Injuries With These Tips

Who doesn’t love playing in the snow and enjoying the winter weather?  It can be a lot of fun, but only if you play it safe.

Here are a few simple tips to help you enjoy the colder weather while simultaneously minimizing your risk of injury:

Dress For Success!

Sure, you need to bundle up before you venture out into the cold.  Everyone knows that and tends to do so instinctively.  What fewer people pay attention to, however, is the condition of your footwear.

Whether you’re playing in the snow, or just venturing out to carry on business as usual, you should pay close attention to the shoes or boots you’re wearing.  First and foremost, they should have good treads, and preferably, rubber soles too, both of which provide better traction on the slippery surfaces you’ll invariably be walking on.

Limber Up Before Doing Anything Physical

Most people exercise less during the winter months, but before you engage in any sort of physical exertion, you should take the time to stretch and warm up. That holds true even in the winter when you’re less likely to want to do it.  Taking this simple step will greatly reduce your chances of injury.

Increased Mindfulness

In the summertime, you can skip down the steps and over your sidewalk without a care in the world.  In the winter though, those normally trusty surfaces can be covered with a barely visible sheen of ice.  If you’re not extremely watchful, a moment of carelessness can cause serious injury.

All Things In Moderation

You might think nothing of grabbing two giant armloads of groceries from your car during the warmer months, but carrying all that added weight during the wintertime can easily make you more susceptible to slips and falls because it can throw you off balance. Take a more measured approach when toting cargo to and from your house, even if it means making a few extra trips.

Keeping these simple tips in mind won’t prevent injury, but they will go a long way toward minimizing your risk, and that’s a very good thing!

What Is A Crick In The Neck?

At some point, almost everyone suffers a crick or kink in their neck.  Whatever you call them, the effect is the same.  It’s painful,  it’s annoying, and it can detract from the enjoyment of whatever you’re doing.

The question is, is that sudden pain in your neck something to be concerned about, and what can you do to make it feel better?

The good news is that in the overwhelming majority of cases, it isn’t something to be concerned about.  While kinks and cricks in your neck are undoubtedly painful, they’re generally not cause for concern.  The exception here is, of course, if you’ve previously suffered a serious head or neck injury.  If that’s the case, then any pain in the area should be treated with seriousness and you should consult your doctor or tell your chiropractor immediately.

Unless that’s the case though, the best thing you can do is give your neck a rest and don’t stress it unduly. You can engage in some low-intensity stretching, which is likely to help sooth it.  You should also alternate the use of ice and heat, and if you want immediate relief, consider using over the counter pain relievers.

It also pays to spend some time mentally reviewing your recent activities to try and determine what you may have done to cause the pain.  Perhaps you noticed it right after stretching to hang some holiday decorations, or maybe you slept in an awkward position and woke up with a pain in your neck.  In most cases, you’ll be able to identify a root cause and change your behavior accordingly to avoid it in the future.

Most of the time, those home remedies will be all that’s required. If the pain persists for longer than a week, it may be a sign that there’s something more serious going on. At that point, it’s time to get your doctor or chiropractor involved.

 

Tips To Avoid Back Pain While Driving

Whether you’re planning a road trip this holiday season, or find yourself driving for extended periods for work, the simple truth is that driving can be bad for your back.  It’s not so bad if you’re a passenger, because you can take something for your aching back or shift your position to get more comfortable.

If you’re the one stuck behind the wheel though, driving for several hours at a stretch can be both brutal and punishing.  Here are a few simple tips you can employ to minimize your pain and discomfort:

Lumbar Support

This is your first, best option.  You don’t have to get fancy here.  If you can’t afford a proper lumbar support pillow, even a small throw pillow taken from your sofa or a rolled-up towel can do wonders in terms of providing additional support. If you can afford a proper lumbar support pillow, it’s well worth the investment.

Take Frequent Stretch Breaks

This is easy if you’re traveling with someone who has a small bladder and needs to stop at frequent intervals for a bio-break. Even if that’s not the case, it pays to stop frequently to get out and stretch your back and legs before continuing on your journey.

Sure, it might mean that it takes a bit longer to get to your final destination, but it will help ensure that once you arrive, you’ll be in reasonably good shape.

Make Use of Cruise Control

If you have a car with cruise control, use it whenever it’s safe to do so.  It will allow you to sit with both feet firmly on the floor, which will help distribute your weight more evenly.

Pay Attention to The Position Of Your Seat

There are two things to talk about here.  First, sit as close to the steering wheel as you can without it becoming uncomfortable.  Second, take a moment to adjust the angle of your seat.  Ideally, you’ll want to position it to an angle of 100-110 degrees.

Also, if you have a bad back, be sure to bring an ice pack with you so you can ice your back en route as needed, or once you arrive at your destination.

Following these simple tips may not prevent back pain but they’ll go a long way toward minimizing it, and will leave you feeling good enough to enjoy the day when you get to wherever it is that you’re going!

Taking The Occasional Bath May Have Health Benefits

The statistics may surprise you.  A recent survey conducted by Angie’s List revealed that a staggering 90 percent of survey respondents preferred taking showers over baths.

The survey revealed a slight gender difference, with women tending to prefer bathing more than men, although both groups overwhelmingly preferred showering.

Preferences for showering aside, some new research suggests that taking the time to enjoy a nice, hot soak now and again has some health benefits that are worth considering.

First and foremost, a hot bath will help lower your blood pressure.  Given how many Americans suffer from high blood pressure, and the fact that high blood pressure is one of the precursors to heart disease, enjoying a nice bath now and again is one of the simplest and most enjoyable ways to protect your heart!  Consider it to be passive heat therapy that helps to improve your circulation as it increases the concentration of nitric oxide in your blood.

Second, a separate study into the subject revealed that taking a nice hot bath will raise your core temperature more than showering.  That’s significant because if you increase your core temperature by just one degree Celsius, you’ll burn 140 calories, which is the same amount you’d burn by taking a half hour walk.

Think about that for just a second:  If you take a half hour walk and enjoy a hot bath afterwards as a way of treating yourself, and you do that three times a week, you’ll wind up almost effortlessly shedding a kilogram a month (about 2.2 pounds).

If you’re one of the millions of Americans struggling to keep your weight in check, making that small change can do wonders for your health.  It’s proof positive that you don’t have to make big changes to your lifestyle to have a profound impact on your health.  Here’s to bathing!