For better or for worse, it’s mid-January and the snow is flying for State College and Penn State University. With snowfall comes snow removal. It’s important to stay safe and injury-free while shoveling the snow this season. Here are some tips to keep yourself safe!
- Warm-Up Beforehand. Engage in some light aerobic activity to warm up your muscles before starting to shovel. This can include simple exercises like brisk walking or jumping jacks. Warming up increases blood flow to your muscles, making them more flexible and less prone to strain.
- Use Proper Lifting Techniques. Bend your knees and lift with your legs, not your back. Keep your back straight and shoulders back while lifting. Avoid twisting your body while carrying a shovel full of snow. This helps distribute the weight evenly and reduces the risk of lumbar injuries.
- Choose the Right Shovel. Select a shovel that is appropriate for your height and strength. A shovel with a curved handle or an adjustable handle length can help reduce bending over. Also choose a shovel with a lightweight blade to minimize the load you need to lift.
- Take Breaks. Shoveling snow is a physically demanding task, and overexertion can lead to muscle soreness or injury. Take regular breaks to rest and stretch (especially if you know your stretches from Dr. Emery and Rothrock Chiropractic). Listen to your body, and if you feel any pain or discomfort, stop shoveling and rest.
- Push, Don’t Lift. When possible, push the snow rather than lifting it. Pushing is generally less strenuous on your back and shoulders. Use your body weight to your advantage by leaning into the shovel as you push, keeping your back straight.
Remember, if you have any existing health conditions or concerns, especially cardiac or respiratory, then it’s advisable to consult with a physician before engaging in strenuous physical activities like snow shoveling. If you have an injury from shoveling OR prior to shoveling, please allow us the opportunity to help clear that problem for you.
Stay safe out there!