Coping With A Long Winter With An Injury

Long term disability is a reality made worse by snow, ice, and lockdowns.

If you were injured in an accident and are currently on long term disability, the onset of winter, and the prospect of many months at home, can be a difficult time. Combine that with the pandemic and, depending on where you live possible lockdowns, the future seems just that little bit more grim.

It’s important however to stay the course, particularly if you’re looking to settle your case, with the help of your personal injury lawyer. You don’t want frustration or boredom to be the reason you re-injure yourself.

With snow and cold, it becomes more difficult to get out and about, even for a little exercise to stay healthy. But keeping somewhat active and participating in your recovery are key elements to your future, so finding a way to manage your injury through the winter weather is vital.

Managing Your Injury In The Winter

The key to managing chronic pain or an injury is to be active and stay healthy. With all the COVID-19 safety protocols in place, there is definitely a dip in the number of people getting the flu or colds, but if you’re fighting back from an injury, your immune system might not be up to par.

Getting sick while dealing with an injury can delay your progress, as you might be unable to do your regular therapy sessions with the same vigour you’ve applied to them in the past.

At a minimum, you need to make sure that you are eating well and getting enough sleep. That’s a great start to keeping well over the winter.

You can also do a lot to ensure that your living environment is healthy too:

  • Make sure your home is clean: if you haven’t already, it’s a great time to get into the habit of wiping down surfaces and maintaining a strict cleaning schedule, including carpets (mold, mites and dander can all be irritating)
  • Adhere to social distancing guidelines for where you live and stick to your household, as much as possible. Even one person coming into your home with a cold can spread germs to a lot of surfaces. If you do have a guest at some point, make sure you clean well after they’re gone

While you recover from an injury, your immune system is already working overtime, so in addition to slowing you down from your treatments, a virus could weaken you overall.

Staying Mobile Even When The Weather Is Frightful

While many doctors would prescribe a walk around the block as perfectly good exercise for someone recovering from an injury, icy sidewalks and blowing snow can make that option a little harder to access. However, good muscle tone and increased blood circulation are important to your recovery, so it might be time to look at some indoor options:

Your doctor or physical therapist can recommend exercises that will suit your injury, so that you don’t unintentionally do yourself some damage. If it’s an option, an indoor treadmill or elliptical machine can make getting a workout in at home easy.

Otherwise, while cardio routines can be tougher at home—going to the gym during a pandemic probably isn’t the best choice!—there are a lot of exercises you can do at home to strengthen your muscles, improve your balance and increase your flexibility. Another benefit to an exercise routine is that it will help improve your sleep, which is essential to allow your body to heal.

Some options:

  • Resistance bands, with exercises to work specific muscle groups
  • Leverage your own body’s weight as resistance to do wall pushups or chair raises
  • Small free weights, for bicep curls and to make any stretching activity a little more strenuous
  • Yoga and pilates are options, with free classes available online and on YouTube
  • Got stairs in your house? Use them! Going up and down the stairs is a useful exercise; just make sure you use the handrail

And remember one thing: Even if you’re fairly mobile, it’s a good idea to hire the kid down the street to shovel the driveway; that’s usually a level of exercise that is one step too far for someone recovering from an injury.

Get Your Vitamins

If you are less mobile than usual, because of your injury, you need to watch what you eat. It will be too easy to put on the pounds eating sugars, carbs and starches, instead of veggies, lean meats and fish.

A better option is to look to increase your vitamin intake through your diet, which is particularly important during the long winter months. Vitamins D and C are particularly useful for your overall health.

After age 40, everyone starts losing some muscle health, a reality that can be exacerbated by a prolonged period of lack of exercise. So adding healthy foods to your diet will go some ways to avoiding that problem.

Like what?

  • Fruits and vegetables, particularly dark, leafy greens
  • Lean meats, like turkey or chicken
  • Low fat dairy, including cheese and milk. A healthy fruit smoothie would satisfy a sweet tooth and give you a good dose of protein and vitamins like A, D, E, and B12
  • Fish and eggs. The complete protein you get from even one egg is a great boost for muscle health, as well as a dose of essential vitamins and minerals: A, D, E, K B2, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, iron and copper
  • Healthy fats, like olive oil, and those contained in nuts and seeds
  • Whole grains and legumes: whole grain bread, beans, quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, to name a few

Recovering from an accident related injury requires effort: mental, physical, and financial… If you have any questions about how you will cope with your injuries or what your next steps might be, your best bet is to consult with your doctor and remember to update your personal injury lawyer with any changes to your health status.

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