When you consider that a shovelful of snow weighs 5 to 7 pounds, you realize how much weight you have to lift to clear your sidewalk or driveway — on average, several hundred pounds!
Winter weather can pack a punch and, with the season’s heavy snowfalls, injuries often result. Improper snow shoveling is often to blame.
But shoveling out after a storm doesn’t have to leave you stiff and sore. With a little know-how, you can clear your driveway without the all-too-common back, neck and shoulder pain cramping your style. Here are a few tips Advanced Vitality has to offer:
Before tackling any strenuous activity take the time to warm up with some overall conditioning (a 10- to 15-minute walk, even on the spot, should do it), followed by some simple stretching.
Don't Let the Snow Pile Up
If the weather report calls for several days of snow, frequent shoveling will allow you to move smaller amounts of snow at once.
Pick the Right Shovel
Use a lightweight pusher-type shovel. If you are using a metal shovel, spray it with Teflon first, so snow won’t stick to it.
Push, Don't Throw
Always push the snow to the side rather than throwing it. That way you avoid lifting heavy shovelfuls of snow, and sudden twisting or turning movements.
Bend your Knees
If you find you have to lift a shovelful of snow, use your knees and your leg and arm muscles to do the pushing and lifting, while keeping your back straight.
Take a Break
If you feel tired or short of breath, stop and take a rest. Shake out your arms and legs. Stop shoveling immediately if you feel chest pain or back pain. If you have back pain that is severe or that persists for more than a day after shoveling, see a chiropractor. If you have chest pain that is severe, see a medical doctor immediately.
This Winter, Have Fun and Stay Fit
Dress for the Weather
Layered clothing works better to keep your muscles warm and your skin dry so you don’t get chilled. You may want to invest in clothing designed specifically for winter outdoor activity or layer garments made of natural fibers.
Know when to Rest
Rest when you feel tired. Stop your activity immediately if you experience sudden or prolonged pain in any joint or muscle. Cool down by stretching, and change into dry, warm clothes.
Don’t be fooled by the temperature! Your active body needs plenty of fluids even though it’s cold outside. Be sure to drink lots of water or juice before, during and after winter sports.
10 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Back
Follow a healthy diet
Maintain good posture
Stretch your spine before and after sports
Don’t overload your backpack or shoulder bag
Stretch your legs and back after each hour of sitting
Never cradle the phone between your neck and shoulder
Sleep on your back or side, not on your stomach
Invest in a good chair, pillow and mattress
Have regular spinal check-ups