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How to stay safe and injury free this winter 

Winter weather can bring its share of chills and thrills, but one wrong move in the snow and ice can also mean a life-altering accident. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe and injury free as go out and about this winter. 

Protect your head
By now, wearing a helmet when skating, skiing, snowboarding and sledding is probably second nature, but it’s always worth saying again: be sure to protect your head when participating in winter sports! Not even the fluffiest layer of snow is enough to cushion your noggin if you take a tumble on the slopes or at the rink. When walking on icy roads, sidewalks and parking lots, remember to shift your weight forward and use small steps, like a penguin. 

If you do sustain a bump on the bean, be sure to take steps to mitigate a possible concussion. Know the symptoms to watch for and next steps to take. Consider keeping this concussion awareness card close by so it’s ready in case of emergency. 

Shovel with care
When it comes to snow removal, work smarter, not harder, to protect your back and your heart. Do a warm-up before you go outside, then work to clear small sections at a time. Take frequent breaks and don’t bother shovelling it if Mother Nature is going to clear it for you anyway. Brace your core and lift with your legs, not with your back.  Know the signs of cardiac distress and what to do; don’t forget that it’s easy to find the nearest AED if you’re in public, especially at a community centre or arena. 

Dress wisely
No matter how you choose to stay active outside in the winter, always be sure to dress appropriately for the weather so that you can avoid frostbite and hypothermia. That means layering your clothing, staying away from garments made of cotton and other plant fibres in favour of wool, and ensuring that you have a hat, gloves or mittens, and warm socks and boots as well as your jacket. And remember, snow pants aren’t just for kids – if you’re headed out for an extended period, consider adding that extra layer for your own comfort. 

Be prepared
Blizzards and ice storms can mean power outages, which means it’s just as important to be prepared for emergencies in the winter as it is the rest of the year. Make sure you’re stocked with emergency food supplies that don’t require cooking; keep spare batteries on hand for your flashlights and lanterns, and know how to stay warm inside if the heating turns off.  

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