Preserve the Curve-Back Safety Tips While Shoveling
Shoveling snow can be a vigorous physical activity even for those in the best physical
condition. It can also be made more difficult by cold weather as cold air makes it harder
to breathe which can add extra strain to your body. Cold temperatures can also cause
your muscles to tighten which may increase the chances of a back strain. The following
are some tips to consider this winter to help prevent a back injury while shoveling snow.
-Those who have a history or are at risk of heart disease should consult your physician
prior to physical activity. Shoveling snow quickly increases your heart rate and blood
pressure. Also avoid caffeine or nicotine before beginning. These are stimulants which
may increase your heart rate.
-Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can become just as big of an issue in cold weather as it is in warm weather.
-Dress in layers. You can remove layers later as needed.
-STRETCH!! Warm up your muscles. Stretch before, during and after shoveling. Warm muscles are less likely to get injured (strained). Take breaks as needed.
-Use a smaller shovel or lift small amounts at a time depending on how heavy the snow is. Plastic shovels may weigh less and snow is less likely to stick to them.
-Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart. Bend with your knees. Keep the load close to your body. Point your toes in the direction are lifting and throwing. Don’t Twist!
-When possible, preserve the natural “S” curve of your spine. Your back is strongest when in this position.