Preparing for a Healthier Winter


We are well into Fall here in Upstate NY and all of the fun activities that come with it – hay rides, pumpkins, and nature walks with pretty colors. Families have settled into the routine of kids being back in school, and football is in full swing. Everyone can take a break from the heat that summer wrought. The bounty of food from summer is harvested and many partake in celebration – for Americans, Thanksgiving.

As the seasons change, we can start to prepare for the coming winter. It’s more than pulling out winter clothes and leaving a few minutes earlier for travel. While technology has changed a lot of how we do things, it doesn’t necessarily make everything easier. Many people do not have careers that necessitate much physical exertion, but there will come a time when that will be required. A snowblower can do a lot, but what about the inevitable foot of snow on a car you need to drive? Steps from your house or place of work may need shoveling. Digging out your vehicle after eight hours of work can require a lot of time and energy.

Many people in our generation lead sedentary lifestyles. Being active is optional these days, and injuries are greater in the winter. When digging out snow, a lot of effort is needed to move it all out of the way. A lot of little and big muscle groups are used. Understandably, people are sore. But for some, it can be more dangerous. People pull muscles and get back spasms, and emergency rooms tend to see a higher spike in heart attacks. Many middle-aged full-time workers will dig out a whole weekend’s worth of snow at once, and it can easily overcome them. Even if others are doing the digging, walking may still be hazardous from slick surfaces.

What can you do to help yourself and others from the dangers of winter? Prepare yourself. Literally. If you have not done so already, start light exercises now. Take some nature walks, rake some leaves, physically move more in whatever ways you’re able. Try some light stretches or practice shoveling fake show. Begin to just get the motions together. If you really can’t handle doing the heavy work, find a compromise. Set up professional services, buy a snowblower, or ask a neighbor’s kid if they would like to earn some extra money helping you this winter. The energy crisis would be solved if we could harness the endless power that children somehow have.

Before the winter season is fully upon us and these seasonal duties arrive, take time to enjoy Fall. Enjoy everything that is apple and spice. Enjoy gathering with people you love. Fall is a special season. It’s a season of anticipation and preparation. Nature is slowing down and getting ready for a deep sleep as it rests and renews for Spring. And as much as one can envy the bear that sleeps right though all of winter, we can’t.


Dan JaFolla is an LPN at The Arc of Monroe. To connect with Dan, email him at

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