Tips for Winter Wellness

Reduce falls

  • Always wear proper footwear
  • Use an assistive device, if needed
  • Stay active and exercise regularly throughout the wintertime – this can reduce your fall risk
  • Be sure to have your sidewalks and driveways salted to prevent falls on the ice
  • Assess your environment before walking: is there ice, drifts, or other items to step on or over? Plan your route first
  • Be aware of your pets at your feet when you are walking

Stay active

  • Outdoor walks are not as easy in winter weather! Be sure to be intentionally active for 30 minutes a day. Activities can include:
    • Walking laps in your home
    • Marching in place
    • Move from sitting to standing and back to sitting from your kitchen chair. Repeat 10-20 times as you can tolerate
    • YouTube is great for free videos of sitting exercises, standing exercises, bodyweight exercises, yoga, and stretches
    • Check with your local church or school if they allow for visitors to walk the halls before/after services or school

Use good body mechanics

  • Be sure your shovel handle is long enough to use good body mechanics
  • When shoveling, bend at the knees and hips, keep your head and chest up. This protects your lower back
  • Scoop and lift up, using your legs
  • Do not always fill your shovel full, it is better to take smaller loads with good body mechanics than larger loads
  • Keep the weight of the shovel close to your body
  • Turn your entire body to dump the snow from your shovel versus twisting. Make sure your feet are facing the direction you are turning to
  • Break the task up into portions. Do a small amount at one time, then allow yourself a rest break

Tips are given by Bradie Nelk, PT, ATC, CM