See you on the sidewalk...
From the desk of Dr. Erik S. Vose… We’ve all seen those people…in fact, we’ve all BEEN those people. I’m referring to that person shuffling past you on the street who looks like they have just been plucked from a dunk tank or hosed down with a fire hose and then left out in the cold to turn into a human popsicle…minus the stick. The anguish is visible in their facial expression, their short, stiff strides make them look like they are working way too hard to be moving so slowly, and their shoulders held so high it seems as though they are attempting to listen very closely to whispers from their shoulders. Every muscle in their body is on the brink of explosion. They are cold.
The problem with this is when you are tense, your circulation decreases and you are actually making it tougher for your body to warm itself. The best thing to stay warm in the cold temperatures is to keep moving and stay loose, and a brisk walk is a great way to do that. It is good for your heart, a lot easier to do on those messy sidewalks than running and is a great mode of transportation.
Here are some helpful tips to gear up for a nice walk in the cold.
1. Dress in layers—it takes about 15-20 minutes for your body to warm up when it is cold outside, so you want to be able to take off layers if you get too warm. A great sequence of layers is a light insulation layer, a mid-weight layer and a fleece covering. A down vest is a great way to keep your core temperature up on those really cold days and of course, don’t forget a mid-weight glove and hat combo.
2. Wear clothes and jackets that aren’t constrictive—although it may be nice and comfortable to wear a jacket that is a close cousin of the sleeping bag, make sure that your clothing doesn’t restrict your natural walking motion.
3. Find a good boot—make sure that you have a boot on that will give you proper support and will keep your feet dry. Hiking boots are great for this.
4. Avoid cotton—cotton absorbs water and sweat, and the last thing you want when you are out in the cold his to have damp clothing.
5. Get some “chains” for your feet—if it is snowy and icy outside, that is no reason to stop walking, you can get traction for your boots much like the chains for your car.
6. Use a good shell—if it is particularly windy or snowy outside a weatherproof shell on top of your fleece layer is a must.
7. Use a backpack—instead of carrying one or two bulky hand bags, why not let your arms swing and put all of your gear in a backpack.
8. Pay attention to your body—make sure that as you cruise along the streets, you are walking smoothly. A great way to check in with yourself is to start with your face. If you are feeling tension in your face, chances are you have tension in other areas of your body. It isn’t always easy to do walking face first into the wind, but it can be done. Make a game out of it with yourself….
9. Drink plenty of water—in the winter it is easier to get dehydrated. Even if you aren’t sweating, you are still loosing fluids while you are walking and a lot of the heat we use in our homes tends to dry us out too.
10. Enjoy yourself—as in everything in life, if you take the opportunity to clear your mind and find the good in your situation, good things happen… and who doesn’t like that?
So hopefully I will see you on the sidewalk and think to myself “wow, that person looks so comfortable”…
Have a great walk and stay warm!
Erik S. Vose D.C.
Doctor of Chiropractic
Erik Vose is a Board Certified Chiropractor in Massachusetts. He holds a Doctorate of Chiropractic from Palmer College of Chiropractic West in California and a Bachelor of Arts in Kinesiology and Applied Physiology from the University of Colorado. After earning his doctorate degree, Erik received two years of additional chiropractic and sports therapy training in Walnut Creek, CA. Erik is a member of the Massachusetts Chiropractic Society and the American Chiropractic Association.
Dr. Vose treats patients for a range of conditions from sports injuries to chronic pain by focusing on the entire musculoskeletal system. Erik combines soft tissue therapy with ultrasound, electric stimulation, stretching, and chiropractic adjustments. He is proficient in the diagnosis and treatment of extremity injuries as well as those associated with the spine. Erik develops comprehensive treatment plans that focus on both alleviating symptoms and helping his patients achieve optimal strength and well-being.