As the season of snowflakes gets underway, doctors
are urging cold-weather sports enthusiasts and those
working outdoors to take a few steps to ward off injury
Planning and preparation, along with proper equipment,
can prevent most cold-related injuries, according
to Dr. Trish Palmer, a sports medicine specialist
and family medicine doctor at Rush University Medical
Center in Chicago.
One of the most common sources of wintertime injury:
"It is vigorous exercise and a big strain on the
back that people don't appreciate," Palmer said in
a prepared statement. "The weight and position are
really bad for two parts of your back. A disc could
be compressed resulting in a pinched nerve. Also,
the muscles in the lower back are small and easily
Her first piece of advice on shoveling? Avoid it.
"Our bodies are not built to shovel snow. Get a snow
blower or get a neighbor's kid to do it for you,"
she suggested. People who do have to shovel
should start conditioning themselves for it right
"You need to get in shape and build up those back
muscles before the snow falls," Palmer said.
The same message about getting in shape now also
applies to people who enjoy winter sports. Exercising
in cold weather places extra demands on the body,
Palmer said. People who haven't exercised regularly
before the winter are more likely to suffer an injury
while skiing, skating or doing other winter activities.
She also stressed the need to wear proper clothing
and protective gear while enjoying winter sports.
It's also important to drink plenty of water and wear
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