Avoid Shoveling Injuries

04/12/13 8:06 AM


backLast month, we talked about how to prevent falls this winter. This month, Physical Therapy Center of Bristol would like to offer a few tips to avoid snow-shoveling injuries.

Control Your Body Temperature

It’s important to be warm while exercising in the cold outdoors but shoveling is both a cardio and strength exercise that burns a lot of calories.  You will warm up so use layers and breathable fabrics to make sure you are comfortable as you work.

Also take a plastic water bottle out with you and drink the whole thing.

Stay Straight

Pick a clear weather day to buy the right shovel.  Do some practice moves in the store (look around you) and pay attention to your back.  Your spine should remain straight when you lift the shovel.

It may be tempting to pick a shovel that’s really big but smaller loads will not only keep you safer, you’ll probably be able to finish the driveway and sidewalk faster as you won’t poop out early.  Shoveling is best done as a marathon and not a sprint.

Keep an eye on your shoveling technique because excessive twisting can lead to strained muscles or worse.  Try to be ambidextrous and use both sides of your body to reduce repetitive strain.

Enjoy the Beauty

There are few things more beautiful in the world than a fresh snowfall.  Take a few moments as you work to lift your head, push out your chest, and breathe deeply to re-oxygenate your blood.  It may help to put your hands on your hips and push them forward.  It’s surprising how this tiny break can give you more energy.

As you work, always look behind you to see how much you’ve accomplished and keep yourself motivated.

Cool Down

It’s important to stretch and warm up before you begin but few realize how important it is to reverse the process.

After you’ve finished, don’t just go inside and plop down on the couch.  Walk a little to get your heart rate back to normal and let the muscles readjust from their activity.  A good warm shower can help work out kinks and drink, drink, drink!  (Water that is.)

If you do feel any pain at any time, pay attention and stop what you’re doing.  Physical Therapy Center of Bristol is only a call away to make you feel better!

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