Don't you miss those snow days when you were a kid, with snowsuit on and sled in arm, waiting anxiously for the call that school was closed? Now you wonder how on earth you will ever have time to shovel, get ready for work, clean your car off, & make it to work on time (oh, and for most of you, who will babysit the kid(s) all day because they have a snow day!). Here are some tips for preventing injury during the shoveling process, so that you may accomplish all you need to that day...and weeks ahead.
1. If you have a large broom/brush available try to brush away as much snow as possible, as often as possible. The only catch to this is you have to stay on top of it and go out every so often to do this. If you periodically do this then the amount of snow to shovel will be significantly less and it will be lighter as well. It is much better for your body to push than it is to dig and lift. And, obviously, If you have a snow blower (or a neighbor who does) try to use that instead.
2. When you are shoveling make sure you are mostly using your legs to maneuver the shovel. Lunge or squat as you bend to pick up snow with your shovel. Avoid keeping your knees straight and hinging at your hips. Also, don't rush it and try to pick up as much snow as possible. This most likely WILL cause you to hurt your back!! Please, please protect your back as much as possible.
3. Do not lift and swing the shovel around your body rotating your spine while your hips are stable. Lift the shovel and pivot your body where you want to place the snow.
4. Take breaks. Don't try to shovel everything at once. Brush what you can away, shovel, brush, shovel, have hot chocolate somewhere in between, build a snowman, do whatever! Just don't shovel for 2 hours straight. You will regret it for the next two days! I promise you that.
5. Keep your core tight! When you pick up that shovel, tighten your core by pulling your belly button in towards your spine and then begin shoveling. This will help stabilize your spine and prevent injury.
6. Last, but not least, if you can pay someone else to do it for you (or if they are nice enough to offer to shovel) then that would be your best bet. However, let them read this blog first! 😉