With winter clearly on our doorstep (and driveway, and sidewalk, etc) here in the metro area I figured I’d take the chance to talk about snow shoveling safety. All to often people undertake this strenuous activity without giving it much thought and end up injuring themselves in the process. Here is a list of the 10 best tips I have for helping you get through the winter without hurting yourself.
10. Dress in layers, as you get your body moving having too warm of clothing on can cause problems.
9. Do a 5-10 min warm up for your arms, legs and low back before you get started (snow angels maybe?).
8. Push the snow towards the bank you are making, being sure to try and keep the shovel centered in your body.
7. Lift the shovel being sure to use your leg muscles, the twisting motion used to throw snow is a very easy way to injure your back.
6. When you are finished make sure to do some light stretching to cool down and work out any kinks you may have stirred up.
5. Enjoy a nice bowl of vegetable soup. The bioflavonoids, vitamins and minerals that you will receive will help your muscles recover, and it’s delicious.
4. Take up a regular exercise program, that includes movements that challenge your core like planking! Staying strong year-round can be the best way for avoiding injury.
3. Enlist the help of an able bodied neighborhood youth to do your dirty work, but make them read this list.
2. Invest in a snow blower and become the envy of those around you.
1. See a chiropractor like me if you are in the Denver area, or find one close to you to keep your spinal motion balanced even though you may not have pain. Imbalances in movement can put your muscles in a compromised position, leaving you suceptible to injury. We can also help you get out of pain if you happen to hurt your back even if you followed all these recommendations.
Happy shoveling, and as always be well!