Play safe during the winter months

In many parts of the country, winter is a time for fun in the snow. The winter conditions provide the opportunity to get outside for skiing, skating, sledding, and snow-shoeing with your family and friends. Here are some tips to help you enjoy your favorite winter activities safely and hopefully avoid sports-related injuries:

Dress appropriately

If you plan on taking advantage of outdoor winter activities, you’ll want to make sure you dress warmly and in layers. If you aren’t dressed for the weather conditions, long exposures to the cold can lead to  a drop in your body temperature, which can increase your chance of getting sick, having frost bite, or, in extreme cases, experiencing hypothermia. Dress warmly to ensure that your body is able to remain the appropriate temperature for cold conditions.

Invest in safety gear

Many winter sports and activities involve taking advantage of snow and ice. These slippery conditions may increase your chances of a slip or fall. Therefore, having the right safety gear—such as helmets, padding, and mouth guards— is important to minimize your risk of injury.

Use the buddy system

Hypothermia can be scary and can occur quickly. There are also other complications that can arise from activities in an environment that is not temperature controlled. It is important to use the buddy system if you are more adventurous and enjoy extreme activities—such as skating on a pond, cross country skiing through the woods, downhill skiing, or hiking off the beaten path—so that if one of you is faced with an emergency, the other can call for help.

Know when it’s time to quit

The cold temperatures and slippery conditions can be confusing to your body, as you may not be sweating as much as you normally would inside or during the warmer months. Listen to your body if it is telling you that it is tired so you don’t overexert yourself and cause an injury (e.g., pulling a muscle). To stay healthy and safe, take breaks when you start to feel fatigued or if snow starts sneaking into your clothing or boots.

Playing it safe can help you get the most out of the winter conditions and enjoy your favorite activities.

Sources

Mayo Clinic, Hypothermia, accessed December 8, 2015, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypothermia/basics/definition/con-20020453.

SLPC 26883 12/15 (exp. 12/17)

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