Yikes, I think the groundhog was mistaken!
We’ve been getting a ridiculous amount of snow lately which is great for the moisture but potentially bad for your spine if you’re not being careful!
Enjoy some back-saving (and heart-saving) tips to help you stay well while digging yourself out.
Here’s the scoop!
1. Warm up your muscles before shoveling. I like to just walk around in the snow for a few minutes and stretch my arms a bit. Warm muscles are both more efficient and less likely to be injured!
2. Grab your shovel. Hopefully, you picked a good one! A smaller blade is my pick – you lift less snow and then put less strain on your body. The fancy ergonomic shovels are great too, but are really designed for pushing snow rather than lifting.
3. Begin shoveling slowly to avoid placing a sudden demand on your heart. Pace yourself and take breaks as needed.
4. Stand with your feet about hip width for balance and keep the shovel close to your body. Bend from the knees (not the back) and tighten your stomach muscles as you lift the snow. Avoid twisting movements. If you need to move the snow to one side reposition your feet to face the direction the snow will be going.
5. Ideally, most of the work you do by pushing the snow. That requires less strain and work. Speaking of: if you have a history of heart issues or don’t get a lot of activity – please talk to your doctor before starting moderate exercise like shoveling snow.
Some tips for your heart:
Avoid caffeine or nicotine before beginning. These are stimulants, which may increase your heart rate and cause your blood vessels to constrict. This places extra stress on the heart.
Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is just as big an issue in cold winter months as it is in the summer.
Most importantly — listen to your body. Stop if you feel pain!
To your health,