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5 Ways to stay Healthy this Holiday Season

Article by the Ontario Chiropractic Association 

'Tis the season for eating great food, spending quality time with loved ones and sharing cherished traditions.  Unfortunately, all of the hustle and bustle can also bring an unwelcome gift - back pain.  Holiday activities such as shopping, wrapping gifts and skating can cause your muscles to work in ways they're not accustomed to, resulting in neck, shoulder or back pain.

Try these tips to reduce your chances of pain and strain:

 1. Ergonomic Gift Wrapping: After searching high and low for the perfect gifts, it's time to wrap them up!  Rather than spreading out on the floor, use a dinner table or desk.  This will make it easier for you to use good posture.  Just remember that sitting in one position for too long can put additional strain on your body.  Take frequent breaks and stretch your hands, wrists and forearms by clenching your hands and relaxing.

 2. Strain-Free Snowman: Building your very own Frosty the Snowman is top of mind for many children once snow falls.  Roll your snowballs into place and work together as a team to lift them when you're ready.  And remember, rule number one is to lift with your legs, not your back!

3. Lift Light to Shovel Right: When shovelling your driveway, let your legs and arms do the heavy lifting instead of relying on your back, and push the snow to one side to avoid throwing it.  If you must throw it, avoid twisting and turning - face your snowbank and throw the snow straight into it.

4. Stretch, Skate and Snowboard: It's time to sharpen your skates and grab your snowboards!  Prevent injuries by stretching before and after you hit the slopes or ice.  A basic go-to is the hamstring stretch.  Stand tall next to something you can hold on to for support.  Prop the back of one heel up on a surface like a stair, curb or bench and pull your toes back towards you.  For a deeper stretch, bend forward slightly at the hips.  Hold the stretch for 30 seconds on each side.

5. Boxing Day Shopping: Attention, discount shoppers!  Carrying all those bags of sale items may be great for your wardrobe but not for your back.  Atrip to your car to drop off your bags can lighten the load.  If that's not reasonable, take breaks and set your bags down or use a backpack to help distribute the weight.