With the winter season upon us, that means shoveling snow off of sidewalks and driveways, with an increased risk of winter injury. 

So, what are some tips to help prevent injury this winter season?

Susan Fleck, Weyburn Physiotherapist at Centered Physiotherapy and Yoga, had some suggestions.

"The best way to protect your back during the shoveling season, is to be active all year long, so that your body is ready for all of the snow. But since that can be difficult for some, it is best to make sure you warm up your muscles and joints a bit before you begin to shovel. Try rolling your head from side to side five times; some shoulder circles and a few toe touches are a good place to start."

Fleck added that pacing yourself is important as well. She said that when we get large amounts of snowfall, to try spreading the shoveling out over an afternoon or throughout the day.

Fleck said that, "...winter is the time of the slip and fall, and accidents do happen. Practicing your balance by practicing standing with your feet close together or even on one foot can help you be more agile on the ice and snow."

As well, she said to always spread your toes inside of your shoes or boots. Use your toes to help you grip!

As for those extremely cold days when nobody wants to go outside, she said "to make sure you move a little every hour or so. Stand up and walk around your place; do a couple of toe touches, squats, or climb your stairs a few times. If squats seem intimidating, a great place to start is standing up and sitting down 10 times."

An increased risk of winter injury can also contribute to holiday stress. Fleck emphasized that individuals should take time to enjoy the things that they like such as baking, exercising, singing or reading to manage stress levels.

"If you find yourself rushed or overwhelmed, try taking five deep breaths and focusing on the present by tuning into the things around you that you can touch, see, hear or smell."

Reach out to your healthcare provider for any falls or sprains and remember to stretch!