Health & Wellness

Tips for a Safer Winter

By on 02/17/2015

School is closed and today is prime sleddin’ time! Here’s how to stay on the hill and out of the Emergency Rooms, courtesy of MossRehab’s Drucker Brain Injury Center and the MossRehab Concussion Center:

  • Wait until the storm is over- the temperatures will be more predictable and the visibility will be better.
  • Sled in an open area, not a place with trees.
  • Use a sled that you can steer: no tubes, saucers or toboggans. (College students, leave those trays in the cafeteria!)
  • NEVER sled down a hill face-forward! This greatly increases your risk of injury.
  • Only one person to a sled, unless it’s an adult with a child under 5 years old.
  • If you’re on a sled that you cannot stop, roll off and quickly move out of the way.
  • NEVER ride a sled being pulled by a moving vehicle!
  • Adults, be present to supervise younger sledders.
  • Dress warmly and in layers.


MossRehab’s own, Melissa Meyers, OTD, OTR/L provided the following tips to keep yourself safe while moving snow around:

Shoveling can be a very aerobic and physically demanding task so there are several things that you can do to preserve your back and your heart.

  • If you have cardiac or back problems, try to find assistance with shoveling or try and invest in a snowblower.
  • Pace yourself and take breaks – remember, shoveling IS exercise
  • Lift smaller loads depending on the heaviness of the snow
  • Stay hydrated and warm
  • Throw salt on the walkway to increase tread and decrease risk of falls

Pick a good shovel!

Plastic shovels weigh less and therefore conserve energy. Shovels with curved handles allow for better body mechanics. Get a shovel that allows for you to push snow, rather than lift it. Lastly, make sure the shovel is not too short or too long – adjustable handles are best.

Be conscious of your body mechanics!

Keep hands farther apart to cover more surface area. Switch hands so the same side’s shoulder and forearm muscles are not overused. Keep in mind to preserve the natural curve of the spine. Use a wide base of support, and lift with your legs and your core, not with your arms and back. Keep the load close to your body and avoid twisting.

As mentioned earlier, pushing the snow is better for your body than lifting it. Lastly, always try and dump or lift snow in front of you, versus twisting around or throwing it over your shoulder.

There are some positives to shoveling! It’s a good aerobic workout when done properly and safely. It also gets you outside to enjoy the beauty of the snow as it glistens off the ground and evenly covers the trees.

And finally: 

Shovel a path wide enough for wheelchairs when it snows. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lists the minimum clear width for a single wheel chair to pass as 32 in (815 mm) at a point (like a gate or doorway) and 36 in (915 mm) continuously (along a sidewalk, for example).

Thanks for reading. Stay safe and have fun!

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Perspectives highlights the expertise and services provided by the physicians, specialists, nurses and other healthcare providers at Einstein Healthcare Network. Through this blog, we share information about new treatments and technologies, top-tier clinical teams and the day-to-day interactions that reinforce our commitment to delivering quality care with compassion. Here, you will also find practical advice for championing your health and wellness. The Einstein Healthcare Network "Terms of Use" apply to all content on this blog.