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Snowshoveling 101: Avoiding Injury

When we see that first glitter of snow coming down in the winter, we get excited. It signifies a white christmas, snow ball fights, snowmen, and sleight rides.  It also signifies snow removal.

Too often people will come into the clinic with a low back or shoulder injury related to shoveling. With a few simple adjustments to your shoveling routine, you can minimize your risk of pain, clear the driveway and stay active for the rest of the weekend!

First off, warming up before your shovel is always best. A quick 5 minute stretch or walk around the block to get your heart rate elevated can do wonders to prepare yourself for what you are about to exert.

Next, pick the right tool for the job. There are endless options for snow shovels. Pick one that is appropriate for your height, as a short handle means having to bend over more. Also, choose a shovel that is light in weight. After all, your about to weigh it down with heavy snow and can use all the wiggle room for error you can get.

Be sure to avoid letting the snow pile up. If the forecast calls for a large snow fall, you are better to remove the snow as it falls, rather than wait several days and doing it all at once.

Its always better to push the snow aside, rather than lifting it or throwing it. This requires less effort from your back, hips and heart, saving you lots of energy.

If you do need to throw the snow, make sure to drop it relatively close to you and to ensure you are lifting with your hips and your knees rather than from the back. This will spare your spine and make sure you can still carry the toboggan to the top of the hill once the drive way is clean.

Lastly, take breaks. Working for 5 minutes at a time will allow your body to recovery during this weather workout. Adequate recovery allows you to exert yourself more efficiently and avoid injury due to fatigue.

Happy Shoveling Everyone!

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