How to Safely Engage In Winter 2017 Activities If You Have Back Issues

Winter is no more dangerous than any other time of the year.  If you approach the season mindfully, you’ll be just fine!

In the spirit of encouraging you to get out there, we’d like to give you a few tips about how to safely engage in winter 2017 activities if you have back issues.


If you’re skating, sledding or skiing fan, having back issues doesn’t mean you need to sit on the sidelines watching everyone else have fun.  You can join in, with a few simple precautions.

Warming up is crucial before engaging in any sport, at any time of the year.  Each activity uses certain muscle groups more than others, so warming up with a focus on the ones called upon persistently by each sport is in order.

  • Sledding: Have you ever fallen off a sled hurtling down the side of a snow-covered hill?  It’s not fun.  But you can hurt your chest muscles with the stops involved in sledding once you make it to the bottom of the hill.  Controlling the sled’s direction can also take a toll on your chest and rotator cuffs.  Warm up your upper body intensively with arm circles in both directions.  Stretch your chest muscles by pulling both arms behind your back, lacing your fingers and pushing your chest out, while dropping your shoulders.  Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, while holding in your abdominal muscles to support your lower back.
  • Skiing: Again, falling down on that icy ski hill is the most obvious way to hurt yourself.  Skiing, though, demands a lot of effort from your quadriceps, buttocks, and hamstrings.  You can warm up all these muscle groups with wall squats (safer for people with back issues).  With your feet about three feet away from the wall and hip width apart, squat to a 90˚ angle and hold for five counts.  Don’t snap your knees when you come out of the squat.  Repeat 15 times, holding the last for a count of ten.
  • Skating: Ice is hard, so don’t fall.  Skating implicates the lower body, so wall squats are also in order, but your core should be warm and ready to go.  You can supplement a wall squat warm up with daily planks.  To correctly execute this exercise, your shoulders should be directly over your elbows, as you come up on your toes, with your eyes on the ground.  Holding in your abdominal muscles, concentrate on maintaining your body in straight light.  Start with 40 counts per plank.

Shoveling that snow.

It’s not a sport, it’s certainly exercise and a demanding one.  Shoveling correctly means using those quads.  Lift with your legs.  When you’re ready to empty the shovel, do not twist your body to do it.  Taking small steps, align your body in the direction you want to toss the snow.  Dress warmly, while you’re at it and you should be just fine.

How to safely engage in winter 2017 activities when you have back issues?  Be informed! Contact us for more information.

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