Top 10 Tips for Shovelling Snow
The wintery weather has brought snow to the Lower Mainland for the first time in 1,000 days. Despite the picturesque scenery for this festive season, one must think about how to avoid injuries through shoveling your driveways and sidewalks. Here are our top 10 tips for shoveling snow:
- Warm-up your body
- Shoveling snow is a physically demanding task. Perform some dynamic movements (like squats, lunges or brisk walking) for 5 to 10 minutes to bring heart rate, blood pressure, and warmth to your muscles before starting.
- Use your legs
- Your quads and glutes are the major muscle groups involved in pushing and lifting. The small muscles of your back are only meant to be used to stabilize your trunk while you use your legs. So bend your hips and knees when shoveling.
- Avoid twisting through your back
- Twisting with load on your back places great stress upon the joints and discs. Try not to throw snow to the side or behind you, and keep your back flat when pushing snow.
- Pacing strategies
- Try removing small amounts of snow frequently instead of a large pile all at once.
- Alternate sides
- Most of us have a dominant side we like to use more frequently. It becomes important to utilize both left and right sides to avoid muscle imbalances, and to give a chance for muscles to have a rest.
- Take frequent breaks
- One of the main reasons for injury is from fatigue. It is okay to shovel ¼ or ½ the block, take a break and come back to it in 5 minutes. Over-stressing our muscles and joints increases likelihood of injury.
- Ask for help
- Ask a family member or neighbour to assist. Likewise, if you’re capable of helping others, continue to build your community and neighbourhood by lending a hand.
- Use a lightweight and ergonomic shovel
- Snow in the Lower Mainland is typically wet and dense. Work easier and not harder by equipping yourself with a lightweight shovel.
- Wear boots or shoes with good grip
- This reduces the risk of slips and falls.
- Spread salt or sand on your sidewalk and driveway
- This increases traction and reduces accidents in slippery conditions.
Stay safe this winter season! Happy Holidays from Acu-Pro Physiotherapy.