During the winter months, snow shoveling can be a pain, considering that each shovelful of snow weighs about six pounds. That’s a lot of repetitive lifting, and wear and tear on your back. These back health tips will ease the hassle of clearing your driveway and help keep your back in shape.
WARM UP Before tackling any strenuous activity, a quick 10-minute warm up such as a walk around the block will kickstart your muscles for the activity ahead and help prevent injury.
1. DON’T LET SNOW PILE UP If the weather report calls for several days of snow, frequent shovelling will allow you to move smaller amounts of snow after each snowfall
2. PICK THE RIGHT SHOVEL Use a lightweight push shovel. If you’re using a metal shovel, spray it with Teflon, so snow won’t stick to it.
3. PUSH, DON’T THROW Push the snow to the side rather than throwing it. This way, you avoid lifting heavy shovelfuls of snow, and abrupt twists or turns that may result in injury.
4. BEND YOUR KNEES If you need to lift shovelfuls of snow, bend your knees, and use your leg and arm muscles to do the work, while keeping your back straight.
5. TAKE A BREAK If you feel tired or short of breath, stop and take a break. Shake out your arms and legs to recharge.
KEEP COMFORT IN MIND Layer your clothing so you can adapt to changing temperatures. If you become too warm while outdoors, simply remove a layer or two to maximize comfort.
STAY HYDRATED Even though it’s cold outside, your body still needs plenty of fluids. Be sure to drink lots of water or fruit juice before, during and after shoveling. Remember – if you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.
TAKE IT SLOW Rest when you feel tired or short of breath. Stop shovelling if you experience sudden or prolonged joint or muscle pain.
COOL DOWN After you’ve finished shovelling, cool down by taking a walk and stretching out tense muscles.