It may be hard to believe, but shoveling snow in the winter months can lead to thousands of injuries each year. The next time you are faced with this not-so-pleasant chore, keep these tips in mind before you head out to the snow pile on your driveway. They might help you avoid the emergency room.
- Before starting on the shoveling, be sure to warm-up your body rather than getting to the job at hand. Stretch your body or even do a short jog in place to warm up your muscles.
- Wear slip-resistant shoes made for the winter weather.
- Use an ergonomic shovel that makes snow removal easier and less strenuous on your body. These shovels are typically lighter and feature a contoured handle that may reduce or eliminate bending and lessen the amount of lifting.
- Try to not throw snow over your shoulders or twist your body to the side as it may stress your back.
- Technique is everything! Always push the snow rather than lifting it and never overload the shovel with too much snow. If you must lift during shoveling, be sure to bend your knees to lift with your legs rather than with your back.
- Pace yourself and take frequent breaks and remember to listen to your body. Avoid overheating or dehydration with water intake. If you feel pain, shortness of breath or any chest discomfort, stop!