Snow Shovelling Safety Tips
Despite the fact that there’s no snow on the ground in the city at the current time, we can be sure that there will be a dump sooner or later. Keeping the reality of a Toronto winter in mind, it would be wise to start thinking about snow shovelling safety.
Here are some health tips for your back (and heart)!
Take the necessary time to warm up your muscles
As you might probably be aware, cold muscles are much more vulnerable to injuries when under strain. Therefore, before you commence this type of work, ensure that you warm up your back. You can begin by using heat (hot shower, hot water bottle or heating pad) for 10-20 minutes. Then adhering to chiropractic/rehab advice, you should do light aerobic exercise to get your blood circulating like a brisk walk around the block. Next, gently stretch the hamstrings and the sides of your lower back/abs. It is important to note that tight hamstrings will exert stress across the lower back when you shovel.
Make use of an ergonomic shovel
An ergonomic shovel can significantly minimize injury prone posture while you shovel. One with a curved and/or adjustable handle will let you stand in an upright manner and can prevent excessive straining while lifting the snow. This will reduce the force on your low back. On the other hand, a sturdy lightweight shovel, preferably one with a plastic blade is ideal rather than one with a metallic blade. Such a shovel will allow you to easily hoist snow that won’t feel heavy.
The right snow shoveling technique (for your back and heart)
USE A SNOWBLOWER! However, if that’s not an option, stand with your feet hip width apart. Bend your body at your hips and your knees (not your back)! Always avoid twisting your back as you shovel. Pick up only a small amount of the snow especially when it’s deep. The lighter the load, the safer it is for your joints and cardiovascular system, and exhaling when you lift reduces strain and pressure on your heart. Ideally, shovel for 5 minutes then take a break for 2-3 minutes. Timing is key: start shoveling as early as you can after a snowfall. Fresh snow is light! Why wait until it becomes densely packed or partially melted?
Enlist the services of a volunteer or hire a snow removal service
IT’S ALWAYS BETTER IF SOMEBODY ELSE DOES THE WORK! Should you be a senior or have a physical disability or health concern, you can use the services of a volunteer. Most youth associations such as the boy scouts, high schools or even religious youth programs require their members to accumulate volunteer hours. This means you can conveniently find a suitable youngster to help you out. There’s nothing wrong with paying for snow removal. Just make sure to direct them to my blog so they too can learn how to shovel safely!