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Shoveling Safely

by | Jan 16, 2016 | Uncategorized | 10 comments

For the most part Mother Nature has been kind to us so far as we are nearing the middle of winter.   That being said the worst may be yet to come.

For many of us seeing a heavy snow fall in the forecast brings thoughts of snowmen, sleigh riding, and hot chocolate.  For others show represents a burden that is hard to deal with.   The falling of more than a few inches means hoping that our backs will hold out long enough to clear the front of our driveways and sidewalks.

Here are a few things to remember when shoveling to keep our backs healthy and avoid injury:

  1. Warm up: A proper warm up will prepare our soft tissues for the rigors of heavier repetitious activity
  2. Lift with your legs: Who hasn’t heard this one?  Squatting at your knees and hips will allow for the maintenance of a more neutral lumbar spine that is much more capable of enduring the forces associated with shoveling
  3. Switch sides often: Regardless of if you are “Lefty” or “Righty” switching sides means being able to distribute the repetitious activity of shoveling and avoiding overload and fatigue failure.
  4. Use a proper sized shovel: Sure, larger shovels can move more snow than smaller ones but those forces can build up quickly and add unnecessary stress on our muscles and joints especially if they aren’t used to it.
  5. Push it: Pushing to snow from the middle of your driveway to the sides helps to avoid unnecessary bending and lifting so that we may survive to shovel another day.
  6. Watch out for ice: Slippery surfaces underneath a fresh blanket of snow can mean sudden falls and a trip to the emergency room unless you are careful.

Taking a few extra minutes to warm up and exercising a little caution when shoveling can save months of pain and disability.


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