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Snow Shoveling Safety

With another bout of snow headed our way, I wanted to share a few tips on shoveling safety that I have gained over my years of practice dealing with client injury.

  • If any heart or cardiovascular issues, please consult a medical professional if it is appropriate for you to shovel.  This also applies to any current injuries you have.  When in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask for help!
  • Avoid shoveling directly after a meal
  • Remember to hydrate.  Have a glass of water before going out.
  • Warm up before shoveling.  Take 5 minutes to perform simple stretches involving the neck, shoulders, trunk, hips, and knees.  Keep it simple, work from the head down to the feet.
  • I also recommend engaging your core before heading out.  30 seconds of an abdominal plank, and a few squats can go a long way in activating your core.
  • It is always recommended to push the snow rather than lift if possible.
  • When lifting, remember to widen your stance a bit, engage your core, and lift with your hips and knees.  Avoid bending at your back.  Stay upright and let your legs do the work. Pick smaller loads.  It’s better to do several smaller loads vs one that is going to cause injury.
  • Avoid throwing the snow. This puts excessive strain on the back, shoulders, and neck. Avoid twisting with any heavy load. Lift with legs, hold the load as close to your body as you can, and walk it to where you want it put.
  • Take your time!  Stay ahead of the snow. Don’t let it build too much before shoveling.  Take a break every 20-30 minutes, or more frequently depending on your needs.  I have seen more injuries happen because the job needed to be done quickly.  Take your time!  It’s not worth the injury
  • And don’t forget to breath!  Try to incorporate breathing into a rhythm.  Lift and push on the exhale.
  • Perhaps most importantly, do it with a smile!  Come at it with a positive attitude, it’s more likely to go well.  Your outdoors, and if done safely, it is great exercise.

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