After a day like yesterday, it seems like the perfect time to discuss snow shoveling.
Shoveling can actually be a great outdoor fitness activity but you need to be sure you’re taking some precautions or you can end up with a painful injury. The following is a list of things to consider before heading out to conquer the mountain of snow in your driveway.
According to Adaku Nwachuku from Spine Health it’s best to avoid shoveling right after waking up from sleep. At this time, the spinal discs are hydrated to their maximum and may be at higher risk of injury from bending and twisting. It’s best to try to do a short warm up prior to heading out.
Try to shovel multiple times in order to prevent having to deal with deep snow. Clearing a few inches of snow at a time will help reduce the chance of injury or strain to your back and shoulders.
Be sure to have a shovel that fits your body height and arm length. When the shovel blade is on the ground, the appropriate handle length would be to the user’s elbow or chest. A curved handle allows for shoveling with less bending and twisting. Be sure you are using a proper shovel designed to push snow without having to bend or twist, not one meant for gardening or gravel.
Take a break every 10 to 15 minutes to grab a drink of water and stretch your back and shoulders to keep your muscles warm and flexible.
Try to keep your back straight at all times. Be sure to bend at the knees and use your legs to lift. When dumping snow from the shovel be sure to pivot the entire body along the direction of the foot. Adaku Nwachuku says, “ If dumping snow to the left, keep the left foot forward facing while shoveling, and dump the snow by pivoting the entire body in the direction of the foot. Avoid twisting the spine alone.”
Keeping these tips in mind the next time you head out to clear the snow will help ensure you have a healthy, pain free winter season!