Here’s What To Do While Shoveling
Keep Your Core Muscles Engaged – consciously tighten your abdomenial muscles while sweeping or shoveling, especially when twisting and turning. This practice will protect your spine from injury. Getting in the habit of flexing for a count of 3-5 seconds then releasing and relaxing for 3-5 seconds and repeating over and over can be a helpful routine.
DO NOT Bend Over – When sweeping keep your back upright. A good technique in doing so is to keep your hands above your waist at all times. The more you bend over (i.e. forward flexion of the spine) there will be an increase in pressure on the spinal structures, especially the spinal discs. For snow shoveling, again keep upright with your hands at or above your waist at all times. Pushing rather than throwing snow is the recommended practice when at all possible. When needing to scoop and throw snow start by bending at the knees lowering your entire body with your feet apart roughly the width of your shoulders and stepping forward into the direction of the snow you are preparing to scoop. While in this squatting position gather the snow of an amount you can easily lift. Now raise up to your original standing position. The final action of throwing the snow is just as critical and can cause either acute or chronic harm to your body if done improperly. So when preparing to throw focus on minimizing twisting your body by stepping in the direction you want to move the shovel while keeping your shoulders in alignment with your feet at all times. At the completion of this step the shovel will stop and the snow will fly off the shovel blade.
To some people these actions are common place, while for others it may seem irregular and unnecessary. Our daily habits have a huge impact on our health. So by adopting good daily practices, like described above, you can easily improve your quality of life to a great extent.
Take Your Time – If you hurry through the process you will increase the likelihood for injury. This is because you will bend too much or twist too quickly which leads to a greater possibility of pain.
Be Square – Don’t try to twist and bend. Twisting while bending commonly leads to injury.