We seem to be experts at this point in the winter with handling and planning for several feet of snow. The recent snow is heavy and wet making proper posturing very important. Here are some simple tips to help avoid injury:
Prepare: Dress in loose layers that can be removed to avoid overheating and choose a light weight shovel with an ergonomic design that allows you to keep the load close to your body.
Plan: Try to stay ahead of the storm by shoveling smaller amounts more frequently. Rest when you get tired or feel out of breath. Avoid holding your breath when lifting snow as this increases the pressure on internal organs, especially your heart. Most of all, stay hydrated!
Posture: Lift with your legs from a squat to upright position. Avoid bending over, maintain a small inward curve in the low back at all times by tightening the core muscles that surround your spine. Shift your weight using your legs. Do not twist your spine.
Bad shoveling form:
Good shoveling form:
Push: Push snow whenever possible. Move small amounts the shortest distance you can. Make sure to hold the shovel as close to your body as possible.
Pace yourself and ask for help.
Pray for Spring!