Shoveling snow may be the most physically challenging exercise you face this winter and during the entire year.
“While regular exercise and strengthening your legs and core before winter arrives is highly recommended, following the tips below can help reduce the likelihood of injury while shoveling snow,” said Jeff Yellin, Partner and Regional Clinical Director at Professional.
Immediately before shoveling:
- Stretch muscles to warm and loosen them to prevent strains and tears.
- Warm up legs with slight knee bends that will prepare the lower half of your body for strenuous activity.
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and caffeine. Each when paired with physical activity, may contribute to or impact long-lasting injury or health complications.
- DO NOT simultaneously twist and bend your body while shoveling. Keep your back straight and only move snow directly in front of you to avoid straining muscles.
- Bend at the knees, instead of at the back.
- Cut into the snow in front of you to separate a piece.
- Slide the shovel under the piece of snow.
- To lift the snow, keep a bend to the knees, and keep your abs tight with a slight arch in your back.
- Walk the snow to where you want to place it. Do not twist your body and toss the snow.
- Take frequent breaks to allow your body to cool down.
- Stay loose by doing small, supported back bends. Place hands on your lower back and slowly lean backward until feeling a small stretch.
- Keep hydrated with non-caffeinated beverages. Water is the best choice.
Watch Professional’s Partner and VP of Clinical Operations Tony D’Angelo on PIX-11’s Winterizing Your Back, including tips for preventing injury when shoveling snow.
After shoveling snow or other strenuous activities, you may experience some soreness. If your soreness lasts more than 48 hours, you may have an injury and should consult a physical therapist or other medical professional.
Professional’s physical therapists can treat shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, neck, back, hip, knee, ankle, and foot injuries, regardless of their origin. To make an appointment, find the Professional location nearest you at Locations.