Are you the kind of person who looks forward to cooler weather? Although you may look forward to the temperature drop and fresh breeze in the air compared to the hot and humid weather during the summer, you might not look forward to the possibility of sustaining weather-related injuries. The good news is that if you take a proactive approach and are more aware of what you’re doing, whether shoveling snow or raking leaves, you have a better chance of avoiding the pain and discomfort. Check out this list of the three common cold weather-related injuries that can occur and the steps you can take to avoid them!

Sprains and Fractures

Sprains and fractures can quickly occur during the fall and winter seasons because of the weather. During these seasons, you’re more likely to experience rain, sleet, and snow in your area, which can create hazardous walking conditions, even if you’re doing something as simple as walking down the block or doing a quick jog. With that in mind, make it an effort to pay attention to outdoor conditions before participating in any activities and wear comfortable, protective shoes. Likewise, avoid completing exercises in hazardous conditions that could put you at risk of injury. For example, if it’s no longer snowing, but not all sidewalks are freshly paved, you risk slipping and falling. In that case, it’s best to exercise at home to keep yourself safe.

Repetitive Strain (Overuse)

Repetitive strain might not seem like a big deal, but it becomes one when the pain doesn’t go away on its own. It’s common for people to overuse their muscles and strain them during the cooler months, whether they’re raking piles of leaves in the backyard for a few hours or shoveling the perimeter of their home. While these are simple chores that most homeowners like to complete themselves, make sure you’re not pushing your body to its limits.

If you’re doing too much at once, you could easily sustain an overuse injury that will leave you in pain. Get help with activities like raking and shoveling to lessen the burden, if possible. When taking on too much at once, you can expect your body to feel worn out by the end of the day, but it can also lead to sprains, fractures, and other chronic pain that continue to bother you for days, weeks, or even months until you see a specialist.

Back Pain

Back pain is another problem you may experience during the colder weather because of the activities you’re participating in, such as sledding, shoveling, or even ice skating. While there is nothing wrong with being active and doing fun things alone or with family and friends, you must take precautionary measures to protect your body. For example, if you’re ice skating with friends and hunched over the entire time because you feel nervous on the ice, you might put such a strain on your back that you end up in pain for weeks because of it. Avoid that pain by maintaining your posture and taking breaks when need be. In addition, if you plan to participate in any activity, take time to stretch beforehand. A few minutes of simple stretches can make a difference.

While cooler weather-related injuries can occur for various reasons, being more aware of your surroundings, stretching, and not pushing yourself to the limits are some of the most effective ways to avoid those injuries. It’s possible to enjoy the cool weather and prevent pain and discomfort by being more proactive.