Maintaining Optimal Health on a Snow Day
With harsh weather looming around the corner there may be a snow day or two in the near future. Snow days can be a fun and relaxing breather from a mundane routine, but they can also be incredibly stressful and unsafe. Inactivity, overeating, shoveling/ice injuries, harsh driving conditions and stress from children can all contribute to a bad day. Read below for easy, at-home workouts and tips for staying happy and healthy on your snow day.
Driving to the gym in icy conditions can be hazardous but do not let that be an excuse for missing your daily workout. There are thousands of home exercises that work just as well to burn calories and keep you fit. Consider performing compound, multi-segmental exercises such as dead lifts, burpees, and squat thrusts. Choose 5 exercises and perform each of them for 1 minute without breaks. If you are just starting out, do each exercise for 20 seconds and work your way up from there. Go through that routine 5 times in a row but remember to focus on proper form rather than speed. See below for home workout ideas.
Routine 1 (1 min. of each x 5)
- Standing lunges
- Overhead squats
- Kettlebell Swings
Routine 2 (1 min. of each x 5)
- Planks with kick
- Push ups
- Bicycle crunches or reverse crunches
- Step Ups
Routine 3 (1 min. of each x 5)
- Jumping jacks
- Dead bugs
- Jump squats
- Side plank (30 sec. each side)
- Side lunges
Prevention is Key
Shoveling for 30 minutes can burn as many calories as running for 30 minutes so it is just as important to do a warm up before you shovel to help prevent musculoskeletal injuries. Shoveling and snow blowing should be performed in a pain-free manner. Lift heavy loads with proper form and take frequent breaks. Repetitive spinal flexion can cause issues such as sciatica, disc pathology and muscle spasms. Keep heavy loads close to the body, stay hydrated and take lots of breaks. People often get dehydrated while shoveling because extra clothing can contribute to an increase in sweating. A good rule of thumb is to drink at least a ½ ounce of water per 1 pound of body weight. Many snow related injuries can be prevented with a simple warm-up, proper form during the activity, and proper hydration.
Proper planning is crucial for a safe and happy snow day. Make sure to have a plan in place for watching the kids if they have to stay home from school. Salt driveways and sidewalks ahead of time to decrease the amount of shoveling. Have cell phones charged and stock up on water, batteries, and other essentials in case the power goes out. Proper planning can prevent many stressful situations. Always keep an emergency kit in your car with extra blankets and water. Transportation is very limited in snowy conditions so do not expect a perfect commute.
Take advantage of day and use it as one of your rest days. Take time to relax, repair, and be ready for tomorrow.
Following those simple tips can help you stay injury free and healthy. Remember to plan ahead, stay hydrated, warm up properly, and dominate that home workout. If you are still having pain during your winter activities such as shoveling or skiing, contact Transform Rehab for a FREE consultation. Feel free to post any questions or comments to our social media pages and make sure to stay on top of everything Transform Rehabilitation.
-Kyle Lance, PT, DPT