Snow Shoveling 101

Did you know, Colorado gets an average of 53 inches of snow a year?  That may not seem like a lot, but it IS  if you have to shovel snow off your driveway and/or sidewalks! It is common for people to begin getting aches and pain in their shoulders and backs after a morning of shoveling snow. That can be due to the posture a person takes while doing the job, so here are some helpful tips to reduce your risk for injury:

  • ~Warm up first.  Think of shoveling as a work out. You always want to warm up before you exercises, therefore stretch your legs and arms prior to shoveling.
  • ~Pick the right shovel. The right shovel makes all the difference.  Pick a shovel with a curved handle so you only have to bend your knees a little and keep your back straight.  Also choose a lightweight and small shovel so that it is not too heavy to lift.
  • ~Watch your body mechanics.  Make sure you:

 

  1. Bend  at your hips and knees instead of bending over with your back.
  2. When lifting snow with the shovel, use your legs, not your back.
  3. Do not twist your back.  Shovel snow in front of you, instead of towards the side to eliminate twisting your back.
  4. When you go to move the snow on the shovel, walk to a new location to put the shoveled snow.  Do not toss or throw snow to its new location.

Some extra tips to keep your body protected are to:

  1. Pace yourself on the job and take frequent breaks. You don’t have to go inside and take everything off, but just performing a few stretches for your arms and legs before resuming the work.
  2. Lighten the intensity of the activity with smaller shovel loads; this will reduce the strain a heavy snow load places on your back and shoulders.
  3. Drink water, eat healthy. This is a running theme in life, but staying hydrated and getting nutrients to fuel your body can reduce soreness and keep your body running smoothly. This with also reduce the risk for injury to your muscles and joints.
  4. Get help.  Have family members or neighbors come help you to reduce the load on your body.

Good The Active Directory Domain Services Is Currently Unavailable luck this season!  As always, be safe and smart about your snow shoveling endeavors.  Think of borrowing a snow blower from a neighbor… or hire the neighbor kid!!

For more information, check out the American Physical Therapy’s article on snow shoveling.  http://www.moveforwardpt.com/Resources/Detail.aspx?cid=bc1413cc-3ed6-4cf9-888f-3955df4a1b13

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