Snow shoveling is more than just a chore: it’s a workout that requires proper technique and precaution to prevent unnecessary strain and pain. To avoid coping with a snow shoveling injury during the winter season, follow these simple tips:
- Snow shoveling is hard work. Fifteen minutes of snow shoveling is considered moderate exercise. Talk to your doctor before you begin the task of shoveling snow to ensure you are healthy enough to perform the task.
- Avoid caffeine or nicotine before snow shoveling. These stimulants could increase your heart rate and cause your blood vessels to constrict. This will place extra stress on your heart.
- It is very important to stay warm and hydrated. Breathing in cold air dehydrates your body and could lead to fatigue or an injury.
- Warm up for a few minutes before shoveling snow. Stretching your muscles by moving your arms, legs and back can prevent injuries and allow your body to move more efficiently.
- To avoid a back injury, use the correct shovel. A shovel with an “S-shaped” handle will require less effort.
- Protect your back from injury by bending from your knees and hips and moving your feet when lifting snow. Keep your stomach muscles tight as you lift the snow.
- New fallen snow is much lighter and easier to shovel. Whenever possible, sweep away the new fallen snow and avoid lifting a large snow filled shovel. This will help prevent injuries to your back and neck.
- The average shovel full of heavy, wet snow weighs 16-20 pounds. Every 10 minutes you will clear more than 2,000 pounds of snow! Remove heavy snow by skimming off the top layer before removing the bottom layer.
- Pace yourself and take frequent rest breaks. Immediately stop if you feel pain or discomfort. No one knows your body as well as you!
Aches and pains while shoveling? Injured? Call us for an injury screening 844.PIVOT. PT (748.6878)