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How to Avoid Winter Injuries

This winter is said to be the coldest yet, which means icier roads, blurrier vision and even less stable steps. To avoid injuries in the soon-to-be tundra, Physical Therapist Karena Wu, owner of ActiveCare Physical Therapy, highly recommends practicing these five specific walking tips and five specific stretches:

Avoid Winter Injuries
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Tips to Avoid Winter Injuries

1. Mind the Sidewalks:

As much fun as it is to run in the new snow, we have to remember the uneven sidewalks, metal grates and curbs, large and small. Take shorter strides and maintain flat foot contact (vs. heel to toe walking, like marching) so that you have more surface area in contact.

2. Slow it Down:

Slowing it down when walking, especially as the temperatures go below freezing and things ice over.

3. Bend Your Knees:

Keep your knees bent as you trudge through the snow, this athletic stance will allow your body to reflexively react if you suddenly lose balance.

4. Keeps Your Hands to Yourself:

If you fall on icy or snowy streets, try not to reach an arm out. A fall on an outstretched arm could cause injuries to the wrist, elbow and shoulder. In the moment, your thoughts might be going awry, but if you’re going to fall, try your best to land on your forearms.

5. Tighten the Core:

Holding those abs in while walking increases balance, powers the limbs and stabilizes the spine.

Avoid Winter Injuries
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Stretches to Avoid Winter Injuries

1. Monster Walks:

Walking like Frankenstein to stretch the hamstring.

2. Leg swings:

Swing your legs forward and back, then side to side for complete leg stretches.

3. Scorpion:

Lie face down and twist the lower body to the left and right to stretch the lower back and hips.

4. Arm hugs:

Swing your arms out from side to side, then come in to hug yourself, for a total arm muscle stretch.

5. Inchworm/Handwalks:

Position your body in the downward dog pose (both hands and feet on the ground, all limbs extended) and walk your feet to your hands for a more intense hamstring stretch.

For more information on how to avoid injuries this winter, visit or call us at (212) 777-4374.

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