With winter comes the promise of snow… and the promise of having to shovel sidewalks and driveways. Often with such shoveling, also comes pulled muscles and back injuries caused by poor shoveling technique.
How do you avoid such aches, pains and injuries?
- Wear proper footwear with a good tread to help avoid slipping and falling.
- Stretch and warm up by marching on the spot and doing shoulder circles (rotate your arms through 360 degrees to loosen your shoulders).
- Choose a shovel that is right for you. If you can bend forward 10 degrees or less at the start of a stroke and still feel comfortable, the shovel is the right length for you.
- For snow shovels, smaller is often better. Make sure you avoid using too large a shovel that full at a time.
- To make things easier, spray your shovel with a lubricant or silicon spray so the snow does not cling to the shovel.
- When gripping the shovel place your hands 12 inches apart, which increases leverage and reduces strain on your body.
- When lifting snow, make sure you keep with your legs apart, bend your knees and have your back straight. Use your legs to lift the weight.
- Step in the direction you are throwing the snow so that you do not twist your back as you clear the snow.
- Tackle the snow in two steps: take some snow off the top and then go back for the remaining snow.
- You are working too hard and carrying too much snow if you cannot say a long sentence in one breath during your shovelling.
- Take frequent breaks.
Shoveling snow is a rigorous physical activity. If you don’t exercise regularly or if you have a medical condition consult a physiotherapist before performing such work. If you do happen to injure yourself, contact our Brooksbank (604) 973-0242, Capilano University (604) 990-7851, or Deep Cove (604) 929-8444, locations so we can help get you back to health, fast.