Snow shovelling is a mandatory way of life in most parts of the country. Some people embrace it while others avoid it at all costs. Here is a list of tips that will keep you healthy when the show hits your pavement:
- Warm up: Always remember to dress warmly. Warm up before you pick up the shovel by marching in place, or going for a walk around the block. Remember shovelling snow is exercise, you need to prepare your muscles and body.
- Take your time, don’t feel that you need to clear the entire driveway in one session. Take breaks every 5 minutes, pause, stand up straight, and stretch. Just as you would take a break at the gym to grab some water, keep hydrated.
- There are certain groups that should avoid shoveling, the elderly, those with cardiovascular disease or previous back injury, always check with your doctor before starting a strenous activity. Most importantly, know the warning signs of a heart attack. These may include chest pain, shoulder, neck or arm pain; dizziness, fainting, sweating or nausea; or shortness of breath. If you think you’re having a heart attack, seek medical help immediately or call 911.
- When shovelling, it’s important to avoid back strain. The average shovel (loaded with 16 pounds of snow) ends up moving 192 pounds of snow, if you load your shovel about 12 times a minute. That’s almost 2,000 pounds being lifted in just over 10 minutes (facts taken from CBC online).
Here’s How To Shovel Properly
1. Invest in a good ergonomic shovel one with a handle bent at an angle, these shovels allow you to keep a better posture (keeps your back straighter) and thus reduces back strain. Alternatively, invest in a snow blower, or ask for help!!
2. Watch your footing, keep feet shoulder width apart for balance and keep the shovel (and load) close to your body. Avoid twisting, or bending and twisting your body as you shovel.
3. Do push. Don’t lift. Save your back and your energy by simply pushing the snow to the side instead of lifting the snow and throwing it off to the side.
4. If you have to lift, lift with your legs and not your back. Half fill the shovel, bend with knees, keep your back straight, and lift with your legs. Always walk to where you want to place the snow.
Enjoy this wonderful season, get outside and enjoy the snow, just remember to shovel smart!
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