Snow Shoveling Tips to Keep You off the Shelf

man shoveling snow

Snow.  It must be shoveled.  Someone’s gotta do it.

And if that someone is you, you’re no stranger to the sheer dread of going out there, shovel in hand, to get it the heck out of everyone’s way.  It’s a dirty job but someone (you) has got to do it.

Think of it as a great workout.  Pump yourself up before strapping on the gumboots and winter gear and beat your chest a few times and BAM.  You’re ready.

Well, not quite.  I’m offering these snow shoveling tips to keep you off the shelf.  And you know why?  Because every single winter, I am visited by the walking “snow shoveling” wounded.  Maybe I can help you avoid that happening.

Warm Up

We all know that cold muscles don’t move as well as warm muscles.  That’s why a good warm up before marching out there into the snow with your shovel (ergonomic or not) is a key injury-avoidance strategy.

If you’re not a physically active person, it’s even more important that you warm up.  We can often fool ourselves into believing we’re perfectly capable, even though we live sedentary lives.  Be honest with yourself and warm up.

Start with a few air squats.  Starting from a standing position with your feet shoulder width apart, squat down as far as you can.  But even before doing that, stretch out your quadriceps, as they’ll be worked.

Swing your arms in circles, first forward, then back.  Do 10 repetitions for each direction.

Stretch your hamstrings.  Step forward.  The foot which is behind you should have the heel on the ground and your front knee should be bent over your ankle.  Keep your abdominals tight, allowing your hamstring (and calf) to stretch.  Hold for 30 seconds.  Switch sides.

Shake it out while walking on the spot, bringing your knees up as you march.

Don’t Be a Hero

Unless you’ve won a gold medal in the Snow Shoveling Olympics, don’t push yourself too hard.  Even if you’re physically active, asking too much of yourself in cold, inclement weather is a recipe for disaster.

Take a break.  Eat a bowl of soup.  Stretch, warm up again and go another round.  It’s not a competition, so take it easy.

Observe Proper Form

There’s a right way and a wrong way to shovel snow.

When you lift a big, heavy scoop of snow with your shovel, don’t twist to throw it over your shoulder.  You’re not digging a ditch.

Instead, take small deliberate steps toward your dump site and then, drop it.  This will protect your spine from twisting too quickly and prevent you from slipping.  (Wear the gum boots.  You’ll look like that guy from Fargo, but you won’t slip, fall and hurt yourself.)

Back & Body Medical New York

Located in the heart of Manhattan, we’re a clinical team dedicated to relieving pain.  Working together, we find award-winning solutions.

Hurt yourself shoveling snow (because you didn’t read this first)?  Let the team at Back & Body straighten you out.  Contact us.

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