Physical Therapy

Snow Shoveling 101

By February 13, 2019 No Comments

Snowpocalypse hit the Pacific Northwest and left behind snow, sleet, hail, slush, and ice.  Last I heard, the groundhog was awaiting extradition from the Bahamas for his poor forecast this year.  As we move forward to finally getting out of the house, here are some key tips to remember while you are shoveling all that snow.

#1 – Use the shovel to push the snow – Walk with the shovel in front of you to push the snow out of your way.  Kind of like your very own snow plow.  This puts the snow in a nice pile ready to be lifted.

#2 – Bend your knees – do a squat to pick up the snow with the shovel.  Bend your knees and keep your back straight.  This is critical when the snow is heavy as it is now.  Make sure you have two hands on the shovel to distribute the weight.

#3 – Pivot your feet – when you are getting ready to throw the snow make sure you pivot your feet.  This allows your back to stay in a neutral position.  Twisting of the spine with a weighted load (like snow!) is the most common cause of injury to the low back.

#4 – Make sure to breathe – keep your breathing regular.  Holding your breath while you are lifting increases the pressure on your back.  Breathing also helps to improve your endurance.

#5 – Take a break – we’ve gotten a lot of snow this year and clearing it away will take some time.  Make sure you take regular breaks to head inside, warm up, and drink some water.

Snow shoveling is a great workout when you can’t get to the gym, yoga studio, or Crossfit box.  If you need more of a workout, offer to clear your neighbor’s driveway too!  Be careful with your body if you are not used to performing heavy lifting or endurance type activities.  Give yourself lots of breaks and keep an even pace.

If you have any questions regarding proper snow shoveling technique or if you hurt yourself in the snow, please reach out to us at PT4EB.

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Dr. Amy

Author Dr. Amy

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