Treat shovelling as an exercise and stretch muscles. Wear warm clothes. Hydrate even if you don't feel thirsty. Know your limits. Bend at your hips and knees, not at the back. Make sure shovel is long enough. Hold one hand close to the blade and walk the lifted snow to the desired place. Buy a snow blower. If you feel any pain, seek Chiropractic care for fast healing.
It’s that time of the year again! Our neighborhoods are lit with elaborate light strands, large holiday yard fixtures, and fire in the fireplace. Snow falls a lot during this time of the year. While it’s beautiful, it can also be dangerous for your health. We often see people shoveling snow aside so that they can walk in and out of their home and out of the driveway.
Here are a few, simple tips to shoveling snow properly and avoiding injury:
Shoveling snow is an exercise that requires the body to use and activate certain muscles. So, treat it that way! If you were getting ready to go on a run or were preparing for your chest day at the gym, you would stretch those muscles through warm up. That’s what you’ve been taught to do. Snow shoveling should be treated exactly the same way.
During this time of the year, you could easily catch a cold, running nose, sore throats, and other ailments due to your exposure to different temperatures. You are going from warm to cold, and vice versa. So, make sure you are on the over-dressed side when preparing to a snow shovel. Not only does this prevent illness, but it is also important to keep your muscles warm and loose when exercising.
Know Your Personal Limits
Snow Shoveling is a tedious task and requires strenuous amounts of effort to complete over a long period of time. Be a personal judge of the shape you are in and take breaks as you need. If you were going on your first run in 6 months, you wouldn’t try and race a half marathon. Shoveling should be treated the same way. Your body will thank you. (Side Tip: Stay hydrated. We know it’s cold, but your body still needs fluids to compensate for the sweat and muscle exhaustion.)
Use Proper Technique And Preparation
You want to make sure you are efficient when snow shoveling. Make sure your shovel is long enough for you, so you do not bend too far to compensate. Bend at the hips and knees, not at the back. This will take stress off your lower back, preventing injury. If you’re going to lift the snow, grip with one hand as close to the blade as you can while remaining comfortable. This will distribute the weight and lessen your effort. Additionally, try to avoid reaching, twisting, and throwing. It is much better to walk the lifted snow to the desired place than launching it like an Olympic Field Athlete. Protect your body.
Look Into A Snow Blower
If it is possible to use a snow blower, do so. This is a good investment for your time and health. When you use one correctly, you can avoid stress on the lower back and also speed up the process. Remember to bend at your knees and hips and try to focus on driving with your legs instead of your upper body.
Rest And Seek Therapy If Injured (Bonus Tip)
If you begin to experience back pain or any other injury while snow shoveling, remember not to ignore it. More damage can be done if you place more strain on your injury. Seek professional help to avoid further injury. People experiencing snow shoveling injuries in the Denver area can visit our office to receive proper assessment and specialized treatment. Chiropractic care can help you heal faster after an injury and prevent injury during the next snowfall!