Take a deep breath, because it’s almost shovelling season. Here in Canada, snow is both a wonder and a burden. But it doesn’t have to be a pain. Shovelling can put a lot of stress on the body, but if we find efficient ways to modify our routine, we can save ourselves a lot of trouble.
- Plan ahead. Is there a car in your driveway? Do you know where you’ll pile the snow? Start by clearing cars, because that snow is going to wind up right back in the driveway. Then, pick an easy-to-access spot for snow piling. Nothing is worse than dumping snow only to shovel it back up to move it.
- Push, don’t lift. It’s called shove-ling. So, give that snow a shove. Push it out of the way and you’ll avoid the strain that comes along with lifting.
- When you need to lift, do it right. Bend your knees and use the leg-straightening movement to give you momentum. When your knees are moving, you’re less likely to engage your low back.
- Don’t twist. Often, when we’ve got a shovel full of snow, we twist to empty the snow into our pile. Twisting while lifting is a sure ticket to back pain. Instead, if you’ve got a full shovel, move your feet and turn your whole body to drop the snow into the pile.
- Dress for movement. Maybe it’s freezing outside, but snow shovelling will get you warm, quick. For optimum movement and to avoid strain, free up your arms by waiting a vest instead of a coat. Wear boots with good traction and gloves that can grip.
- Stretch it out. After shovelling, you may feel stiff or achy. Gently stretch your muscles so that tension doesn’t build up and result in an injury.
What are your favourite shovelling tips? Let us know, in the comments!
Article inspired by Popular Mechanics, Toronto EMS, Huffington Post and Art of Manliness.