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Outdoor Winter Safety Tips

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 General News J E 4
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EDINA, Minn., Jan. 26 As we try to get outside and makethe most of these cold winter months, it's important to use basic safety tipsthat help minimize injury. The Minnesota Chiropractic Association (MCA) offersthe following tips to help keep your family injury free.

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

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

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

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

Shoveling can strain "de-conditioned" muscles between your shoulders, inyour upper back, lower back, buttocks and legs. So, do some warm-up stretchingbefore 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 andturning motions.

Bend your knees to lift when shoveling. Let the muscles of your legs andarms do the work, not your back. Take frequent rest breaks to take the strainoff your muscles. A fatigued body asks for injury. Stop if you feel chestpain, or get really tired or have shortness of breath. You may need immediateprofessional help.

After any of these activities, if you are sore, apply an ice bag to theaffected area for 20 minutes, then take it off for a couple of hours. Repeat acouple of times each day over the next day or two. If you continue to feelsoreness, pain or strain after following these tips, it may be time to visit adoctor of chiropractic. Go to http://www.mnchiro.com to find a doctor nearyou.CONTACT: Debra Hurston 952-882-9411

SOURCE Minnesota Chiropractic Association
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