Peoria, Ill.,
10:36 AM

Health Highlights: Snow preps + losing weight

It's winter in the Northern Hemisphere and Mother Nature is making sure we know it. 

A good chunk of the U.S. has felt the wrath; dealing with snow, strong winds and other dangerous conditions. 

Snow, especially the heavy stuff, means a lot of shoveling. The pressure this puts on our bodies can lead to an array of health-related problems if you're not careful and properly prepared for the winter season. 

Among the people at the greatest risk while shoveling are older adults, people with a history of back problems, and those who have suffered a heart attack or other serious health issue. 

“Every year, thousands of people end up in an emergency department due to things happening when they’re shoveling snow," Henderson says. "These include falls, sometimes people experience heart attacks from extraneous activities, back injuries amongst other things. So, it’s really important to take some caution when you are going to be shoveling snow, and the snow is coming.”

When it comes to shoveling, Henderson says to play it safe. Take your time and be sure to let your loved ones and friends know what you're up to in the event something does happen. 

Don't be afraid to ask for help. She adds to dress appropriately to avoid frostbite, stretch five to ten minutes before you go out in the cold and stay hydrated. 

We have ushered in the New Year. For some, it's that time we pledge to exercise more, save money, find a new hobby, or shed a few pounds. 

A recent Forbes Health survey reports losing weight is the fourth most popular resolution for 2024, trailing only improving fitness, finances and mental health. 

Nicole O'Neill is a dietitian with OSF HealthCare. Her job is to help people navigate the choppy waters of starting diets, especially this time of year.

“Resolutions are big picture things. So, if you have a resolution to lose X amount of weight, go ahead and make it. But then break it down into smart goals, little steps along the way so that you can achieve something and feel like you did something," O'Neill says. 

Resolutions aren't for everyone, so don't feel bad if you don't make one. 

O'Neill says it depends on the person's personality and what other factors are involved such as stress, hormones, pain or lack of sleep.

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