Snow shoveling is more than just a chore; it’s a workout that requires proper technique and precaution to prevent unnecessary strain and pain. To avoid coping with a snow shoveling injury during the winter season, follow these simple tips:
- Fifteen minutes of snow shoveling is considered moderate exercise. Talk to your doctor beforehand to ensure you are healthy enough to shovel snow.
- Avoid caffeine or nicotine before snow shoveling. These stimulants could increase your heart rate and cause your blood vessels to constrict, which places extra stress on your heart.
- Stay warm and hydrated. Breathing in cold air dehydrates your body and could lead to fatigue or an injury.
- Warm up for a few minutes before shoveling snow. Stretching your muscles by moving your arms, legs, and back can prevent injuries and allow your body to move more efficiently.
- To avoid a back injury, use the correct shovel. A shovel with an “S-shaped” handle will require less effort.
- Protect your back from injury by bending from your knees and hips and moving your feet when lifting snow. Keep your core tight as you lift the snow.
- New fallen snow is much lighter and easier to shovel. When possible, sweep away new fallen snow and avoid lifting a large snow-filled shovel.
- The average shovel full of heavy, wet snow weighs 16-20 pounds. Every 10 minutes you will clear more than 2,000 pounds of snow. Remove heavy snow by skimming off the top layer before removing the bottom layer.
- Pace yourself and take frequent rest breaks. Immediately stop if you feel pain or discomfort.
If you are experiencing aches and pain while shoveling, call us for an injury screening at 1-866-PIVOT-18.