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Proper Snow Shoveling Technique with Tips

Snow Shoveling Technique with Tips

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:

Warm Up

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.

Stay Hydrated!

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

  1. Exercise regularly

  2. Follow a healthy diet

  3. Maintain good posture

  4. Stretch your spine before and after sports

  5. Don’t overload your backpack or shoulder bag

  6. Stretch your legs and back after each hour of sitting

  7. Never cradle the phone between your neck and shoulder

  8. Sleep on your back or side, not on your stomach

  9. Invest in a good chair, pillow and mattress

  10. Have regular spinal check-ups

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