Hello Edmonton, Dr. Chad Mestdagh here once again to give you some chiropractic posture tips. Yes, I did in fact write this. Today, we are going to be talking about shoveling snow.
Seven Health Tips for Shoveling Snow.
1. Warm up and do some stretches before going outside to shovel snow.
There are not many tips that I give that can save a person's life but this is one of them. If you have high blood pressure and you go outside and do some heavy exercise like shovel some snow, you are setting your self up for some trouble. It is the same as deciding to start running on a treadmill at the highest setting possible.
Warming up could be something as simple as running in one spot for 30 seconds. Stretches are varied and many are possible. Specifically in our office, we can suggest some good stretches that would be ideal.
2. Your stance matters. So does the grip on your shoes.
Slip and fall injuries are not usually serious but they are usually avoidable. Choose shoes that will grab the snow and prevent you from falling down. A wide stance will also make you more stable and less likely to fall over. (Not to wide though. You don't want to do the splits.)
3. Choose your shovel wisely.
A smaller shovel might grab less snow. Believe it or not, that might be a good thing. Grabbing wet snow might be heavier than you think. If you have several shovels, there is nothing stopping you from using a smaller shovel first, then a wider shovel to clean things up.
4. Shoving the snow forward is better than throwing it to your sides.
Pushing the snow forward is going to be a lot easier on your body then throwing it to your sides. When you push it forward, you are not going to be doing as much twisting. Bending and twisting motions are hard on the discs on your back. A disc herniation is much more likely to happen when your back is twisted.
Also, pushing involves less force than lifting. So it will be less work for your back.
5. When you do lift the shovel, then keep it as close to your body as possible.
The closer anything is to your body, the easier it is going to be to lift the object. In physics, this is what they call a lever arm. The further the object is from the body, the more force it is going to take to lift it. Your best position is to have both hands on the shovel. One on the handle and the other further down the pole. Then bend forward and scoop the snow in small amounts while the shovel is mostly in front of you. If you are going to make a tall pile, then stand up straight before you put it on the pile, keeping the shovel as conveniently close to you as possible.
6. Treat shoveling snow like any rigorous exercise.
The amount of calories that you will burn shoveling snow could be compared to running on a treadmill. So there is wisdom in treating them the same. You will want to keep hydrated and take breaks if you are not used to doing rigorous exercise often. If you spend most of your days in front of a computer and do not exercise often, then you can expect to feel a little sore after as you likely haven't used those muscles for a while.
7. If you do hurt yourself while shoveling snow, then consider seeing a chiropractor.
Hey, Guess what. I know a really good one. He is me! And yes, I do treat people that hurt their backs all the time. I have lots of experience.