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March 14, 2019
If you live in a cold area, shoveling snow is just a part of life to you. Many of us are so used to clearing our paths and digging spaces around our homes that we don’t realize how shoveling snow can actually be quite a dangerous activity. When you neglect to take the necessary precautions, you can end up with strained muscles, broken bones, and other sorts of nasty injuries. Here are some of our tips to help you avoid pain or danger while shoveling snow throughout the cold season:
Begin by warming your body up
If you were preparing for a hard workout at the gym, you would begin with a warm up. Shoveling snow is quite a bit of work and failing to warm up may result in injury. Warming yourself up will loosen stiff muscles and encourage the flow of oxygen throughout your body to avoid premature lactic acid build up that could result in a muscle strain. Make your left arm clasp your right shoulder and your right arm clasp your left shoulder, hugging yourself as tight as possible feeling the stretch on your arms. Then, walk around briskly. One excellent thing to end with is lying on the floor with your legs placed against a wall, then extending your legs as much as you can. Your hamstrings will surely wake up after the movement!
Invest in proper boots
The right boots will make it possible to shovel more comfortably. Invest in a warm, waterproof pair to protect your feet against frostbite. Your boots should also be non-slip to avoid skidding. If your boots are new, break them in well before engaging in the strenuous efforts of shoveling snow to avoid having painful foot blisters.
Buy a shovel with a shorter handle
Some shovels may have wider pans that can carry more snow. Although you may feel like you are accomplishing more, using this type of shovel might result in you scooping a heavier amount of snow than your body can safely carry. Pick a shovel that suits your strength and allows you to shovel snow without putting too much stress on your body. You may opt to invest in a shovel with a shorter handle since the center of mass during your shoveling will be closer to your body, lessening the stress on your back and allowing you to move easily while you move snow.
Clear snow more often
If you only shovel snow after a heavy snowfall, you will end up having to exert more energy to move a big amount every time. It’s best to shovel when snowfall is still light. While shovelling under light snowfall means that you may have to head out to clear the driveway more frequently, it will also spread the total effort needed to do the arduous task over time instead of exerting a huge amount of effort in a laborious one-time, big-time shovelling activity.
Accept that you can’t always get the job done
Carefully choose where and when to shovel safely. Keep clear of slippery and icy pathways to avoid falls. Avoid scooping wet, heavy, compacted snow since the weight of the meltwater would greatly add to the difficulty of moving and carrying the snow and strain your back. Observe your own body for signs of discomfort and pain. Keep an eye out for persistent muscle discomfort or a throbbing chest pain. If you experience any of these things, seek medical help immediately.
There are also times that the snow has built up considerably or the conditions for shovelling are less than ideal. In such cases, you might want to seek the services of a professional snow-moving or landscaping company to do the snow-clearing for you. They have the equipment and expertise to assist you in safely, easily, and quickly moving snow without you having to take on the risks of clearing it yourself.
Consult a chiropractor
To make snow shovelling easier and safer, consult a chiropractor. A chiropractor may realign your vertebrae to mitigate pressure on the spinal cord to prevent back injuries. They can also help deal with back pain that would come from completing this winter chore. Moreover, chiropractors can train you how to do specific warm up and warm down exercises so that the shovelling will be more comfortable and fun.