The combination of heavy snow, icy walks, and cold temperatures put people at increased risk for falls, back injuries and even heart attacks. I thought I would give you a few clues about how to avoid injury while doing the unavoidable.
- Treat snow shoveling like the athletic event it is and do some gentle stretching and warming up before you go out to shovel.
- Keep your back straight while shoveling and this means getting a shovel with a long enough handle or one of those funky ergonomic ones with the curved handle so that you do not have to bend down.
- Take smaller amounts with each shovel so that you do not strain yourself.
- Step in the direction that you are throwing the snow so that you do not have to bend and twist.
- Take it slow and take frequent rests because shoveling can be extremely strenuous and can elevate both heart rate and blood pressure.
- Remember to lift with your legs and not with your back while you are lifting and throwing the snow.
- When you do take a break from shoveling spend a little time arching backward with your hands on your low back to counter-balance your forward bent posture.
- If it is extremely cold and windy make sure to keep your face covered to prevent frostbite, but also to warm the air coming into your lungs.
- Hire someone else to do the shoveling for you. That is my favorite one.
Tim Fargo D.C.