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How to Shovel Snow Injury Free

Posted on February 16, 2016 by Core Products There have been 0 comments

By Brian Acton

Winter weather comes with the opportunity for a variety of fun activities. Hiking through your neighborhood, building snowmen, and snowball fights are all a great source of exercise and play. Then there are the not-so-fun activities – namely, shoveling snow from our parking lots, driveways, and sidewalks.

The good news: shoveling snow is fantastic exercise. The bad news? It puts your heart and back at risk.

Whether you’re shoveling your own driveways or going door to door around the neighborhood to earn some money, proper technique is important to avoid injury. Here’s how to shovel snow like a pro without throwing out your back or putting your heart out of whack:

Prep Yourself

Before starting to shovel, you’ll want to dress yourself in your snow gear and warm up a little first. Going headlong into heavy exercise should be avoided. Instead, warm up by walking in place, doing jumping jacks, or any other lightweight activity. Stretching beforehand will help keep you limber as you shovel. Also, make sure you have water handy – you’ll want to stay hydrated throughout the process.

Use Proper Technique

Rather than expending loads of energy picking up snow and then tossing it with your shovel, push the snow to the edge of the area you wish to clear whenever possible. This action is much less stressful on your body.

Once you’ve pushed snow to the edges of the area, or have no other recourse but to start lifting, you will want to use your legs to do the hard work. Bend at your knees, not at your back, and then lift with your legs. Make sure to choke up on the shovel, with one hand on the shovel’s handle and the other on the shaft near the shovel’s blade. Avoid sharply twisting your body to dump the snow from your shovel, as that motion can injure your back. Instead, turn and walk your entire body to the spot you use to deposit the snow.

Split Up the Work

First, you should take frequent breaks when shoveling snow. Cold temperature boosts blood pressure, and sudden activity – especially if you aren’t frequently active – puts a further strain on the heart. Take water breaks every 10-15 minutes or less if needed.

Second, you should shovel snow every few hours as the snow falls. While it is annoying to shovel all day, it keeps the snow from piling up into a huge, unmanageable load, and thereby lessening the strain on your body.

Pay Attention to Your Body

If at any moment you start to feel overly winded or feel that you’ve injured yourself, stop your activity and go inside. Continuing to shovel could cause you to hurt yourself even worse. Also, if you feel the signs of a heart attack – chest pain and pain or numbness in your left arm are common symptoms – stop immediately, and if the symptoms persist, call 911 or have someone call 911 for you.

Avoid Shoveling Altogether

If you rarely exercise, it may be a good idea to avoid the shovel altogether. If you can, use a snow blower to clear snow – snow blowing is much easier on the body. Alternatively, many neighborhoods will see enterprising teenagers clearing out driveways for money, and if you’re completely buried, the cost is worth it!

Sources:

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/shoveling-snow-can-be-hard-on-the-heart-201302085868

http://www.spine-health.com/wellness/ergonomics/snow-shoveling-techniques-prevent-low-back-injuries


This post was posted in Education

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