Safe Snow Shoveling Tips

Safe Shoveling Tips

If you are heading out to shovel today’s heavy wet snow, please keep these safe shoveling tips in mind to protect your body from pain and injury.  And don’t forget to ask for help if you need it!

1.  Dress warmly and in layers:   Muscles do not appreciate the sudden movements of slipping and sliding, so be sure to wear boots with good traction, so you can have a solid, grounded stance.  Wear layers of clothing that keep you (and your muscles) warm but allow for natural body movements.

2.  Warm up your muscles:   Shoveling with cold, tight muscles is asking for injury…a few minutes of warm up will go a long way.  March in place, jump up and down, swing your arms, and start slowly.

Use proper posture:

  • Bend at the hips and the knees, NOT your back.
  • Your back is strongest when it is straight, so be sure to use a shovel that is the right size for you, so you do not hunch. Pushing your chest out can help you keep a straight back.
  • Your back is most vulnerable when it is twisted, so do NOT throw snow with a twisted back.
  • PUSH snow if you can, but if you must lift, do small amounts only.
  • When lifting, ENGAGE YOUR LEGS and CORE (belly) muscles, NOT your back muscles.

4.  Breathe!  Take your time:  Perhaps even think of  it as a meditation.  Develop a nice slow rhythm, and really pay attention to how your body feels. Notice  the crispness of the air, the purity of the landscape, and the beauty all around you.  When you pay attention like this, you will notice what adjustments your body needs to stay safe.  Take frequent breaks.

5. Stay Hydrated:  It may be cold, but your body will sweat. Be sure to drink plenty of water to keep muscles and body hydrated. Be careful with hot drinks like coffee or hot chocolate. Coffee contains caffeine, which has a dehydrating effect and adds even more stress to the body.

6. Listen to your body  If you start to feel pain, a twinge in your back, shortness of breath or pain in your chest… STOP!  Maybe all you need is a little break to relax, or maybe you need to hire the next door neighbor’s kid to help out.  But do no underestimate the significant cardio work out of shoveling, and do not push yourself.

7.  Post Shoveling muscle care:  Once your remove all your snowy clothes, do a little stretching.  This work out was probably new movement for your body, so giving it some gentle stretches can help prevent muscles from seizing up.  Sore or achey?  Try ice.

And of course, a massage is a great way to help muscles feel better, and repair from overwork!  Book your massage ONLINE or Call today to set up your appointment!  508-788-7300!

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