It’s the time of year in Loveland when we see an increase in chiropractic patients with injuries related to shoveling snow. This is usually a case of “overdoing it.” Before heading out to clear a snow-covered driveway, follow these tips to prevent injuries and soreness:
- Warm-up your muscles. When was the last time you shoveled snow? Probably last year! Shoveling snow requires significant physical effort. Before you head out, warm up for 10 minutes with light activity.
- Take frequent breaks. It’s likely you’ll get your heart rate up. Rest at regular intervals and drink some water. Listen to your body. Don’t work to the point of exhaustion; if you feel fatigued, stop shoveling.
- Wear layers and use a shovel that is comfortable for you. If you start to overheat, keep your body comfortable by removing a layer. Using a shovel that is the right size for you will increase your leverage.
- Try to push the snow instead of lifting it. If needed, bend and lift WITH YOUR LEGS while keeping your back flat. Do not bend at the waist and do not fill the shovel completely. Scoop small amounts of snow.
- Don’t throw it! Walk to where you want to dump snow. Throwing the snow over your shoulder or to the side makes your back use a twisting motion that puts a tremendous amount of stress on your spine.
There are times in Colorado when the snow is so light you can use a push broom to remove it, but that’s not always the case. Stay safe and healthy while shoveling show this winter!