Is there anything more beautiful than a sunrise over a fresh blanket of snow? Everything is so still and quiet and every color just radiates off the crystalized water. Ahhh.
Then you realize your car is under that pristine blanket. I plan to walk today and just let my car sleep under it’s snowy comforter but if you are one of the many East Coasters hammered by Pax the last few days here are some safe shoveling tips to keep you OUT of your Physical Therapists office:
Use the right tools – An ergonomic snow shovel can help reduce your body’s work and take some of the chore out of this chore.
- A shovel with a curved handle will minimize bending
- Small, lightweight plastic blade helps reduce the weight you have to move.
Dress for the job!
- Bundle up but wear layers, shoveling is hard work so you may get warm quickly, but remember to protect your hands and ears.
- Shoes or boots with good tread will minimize injury from slipping (spreading sand or kitty litter on your side walk can help increase traction too)
Warm up! – It’s cold out there and tight cold muscles are more prone to injury.
- Get your body moving pre shoveling with a quick walk around the neighborhood or marching in place.
- Stretch out your low back and hamstrings with some gentle forward bends or get into child’s pose
- Don’t forget about your arms and shoulders, give yourself a nice big bear hug and limber up those arms.
Safe Snow Lifting:
If possible PUSH snow to the side instead of lifting it but once you have to start lifting keep these things in mind:
- Face the object you intend to lift – square your hips and shoulders, always avoid twisting at the back
- Bend at the hips NOT the low back, using your legs to lift
- Keep the load light, it is safer for your back
- Do not extend your arms to throw the snow, walk to the new location to deposit the load.
- PACE YOURSELF – try to take a short break every 10-15 minutes, you can use this opportunity to stretch out your arms, shoulders, and back.
Check out this video from the American Physical Therapy Association showing all these tips in practice:
Finally, you should probably use all that snow to make a sweet fort and have an epic snow ball fight with your neighbors … just saying.