Winter is back and here we go again… snow.
As with any physical activity, it’s a good idea to warm up your muscles before exerting them. This will keep you from straining them and hurting yourself. Walk around a bit or march in place for a few minutes. Then stretch your back, arms, and legs.
Get a good shovel. Look for a lighter-weight shovel that suits your size. A smaller shovel will allow you to scoop up less snow at a time and avoid getting hurt. Shovels with a bend in them, as opposed to the straight, broomstick-type style, are better for your lower back.
Teflon spray your shovel. The best tip ever. This will help the snow slide off your shovel easier and not stick to it.
Pace yourself. Start shoveling soon after newly fallen snow since it is lighter than wet, heavily packed snow, and take small breaks (shovel an inch or two, rest, and repeat). Start out slowly to avoid putting too much stress on your heart all at once.
Push, rather than lift. When you can, try pushing the snow away from you, rather than lifting it, to avoid straining or twisting your back. Look for a shovel with a blade that makes it easier to push snow.
Use your legs. If you must lift snow, fill your shovel no more than half full. Bend your knees and lift with your legs, rather than your back. Keep your back straight. Avoid throwing snow over your shoulder or to the side, which causes your back to twist and can injure your shoulders.
Watch for ice. Look out for ice under the snow or on the ground that can cause you to slip and fall. Black ice, which looks like water but is actually thin ice, can be especially dangerous.
Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask someone for help. Clean some of it yourself but don’t feel like you have to do it all.
Listen to your body. If you feel tightness in your chest or have any pain, stop right away and call your doctor.
Other rules also apply. For instance, drink enough water before, during, and after your shoveling. Dehydration is just as big an issue in cold winter months as it is in summer.
Finally, a good fitness program that builds strength and endurance can make shoveling snow a lot easier for you. A year-round conditioning program really prevents injuries and problems.
If you do suffer any injury while shoveling snow, do not wait for the “pain to go away”. If you do hurt yourself and home remedies taught are not working, contact our staff at the Yalich Clinic. 410-766-4878.