Updated: Jan 15
Winter brings a special beauty with snow-covered trees, skating, building snowmen, and skiing, but then there is shovelling the snow from our cars and walkways.
Unfortunately, it also comes with an increased risk of injuries for many.
Practicing good snow-shovelling techniques will go a long way in preventing unnecessary pain and injury.
Try doing a few simple stretching exercises for the back and the hamstrings to loosen the muscles and improve blood flow.
Here are a few great examples of stretches, including the shoulder stretch, quad stretch and cat and cow.
When temperatures get colder, it can reduce blood flow and constrict the blood vessels to the muscles working while shovelling. Wear clothing in layers to insulate the body. To help minimize slipping and getting injured, boots with tread are a good choice.
To keep the body hydrated and prevent the tissues and muscles from getting cold and numb, drink lots of water.
Before shovelling, drink water, and when you take breaks from shovelling, drink more.
Avoid shovelling right after waking up from sleep because the spinal discs are hydrated to their maximum and may be at a higher risk of damage by herniation through bending or twisting movements.
Try to shovel a few times during a snowfall so the snow doesn’t get too thick and heavy. Frequently shovelling small amounts of snow is less strenuous than shovelling a large pile at once, and try not to shovel after a heavy meal or drinking alcohol.
Support the lower back and keep your back straight while shovelling. Lead with the hips, not the lower back, and push the chest out, pointing forward. Then, bend the knees and lift with the leg muscles, keeping the back straight at all times. Keep the feet hip-width apart for improved control.
Stabilize your spinal posture by keeping the back straight by keeping your hands on the handle of the shovel and the other about a foot lower on the shovel shaft. Pivot the entire body in the direction of the foot. Avoid twisting the spine alone. Try to maintain minimal arm movement by keeping the shovel’s load close to the body to reduce stress on the back, shoulder, and arms.
Not everyone enjoys shovelling snow in the winter, but unless you hire a company to get it done for you, being safe and following these tips will lesson the chance you will hurt yourself.