Shoveling 101

December 01, 2015 | Holidays, Sports, Winter

It’s that time of year again. We welcomed our first light dusting of snow in late November but there is without doubt much more yet to come. While clearing your driveway and walkway is a necessary part of the winter season, it can also lead to injuries if done incorrectly. Here are a few tips to keep you in tiptop shape while battling Jack Frost and Old Man Winter this season:

Prep Work:

Warm up first! Just like you would do a warm up before working out at the gym, you should do a warm up before tackling the snow in your driveway. Do a short walk around the block and warm your muscles and joints up with a set of range of motion exercises. If you have a health concern, talk to your healthcare provider before you begin shoveling this winter.

Pace Yourself:

Start slow and pace yourself. You should take breaks regularly. Start shoveling before the snow has finished falling. This will help you to avoid dealing with snow that has piled up over hours and becoming heavier, especially if mixed with wet snow or freezing rain.

Keep Hydrated:

Shoveling is hard work! You need to keep hydrated just like you would with any exercise regardless of the temperature outside. Keep water on hand while outside.

Use Proper Tools:

A shovel should be sturdy but not overly heavy (the snow is heavy enough). A plastic blade is generally more lightweight than a metal blade. An ergonomic shovel with a curved handle will help prevent muscular fatigue. Choosing a shovel with a smaller blade will force you to lift a smaller load and reduce the strain on your back.

Wear Appropriate Clothing:

Layers are best. You are going to work up a sweat while you shovel. Being able to remove a layer if too warm is helpful. Wear a hat and mittens. Your boots should have a good grip to help you avoid slipping on icy pavement.

Use Proper Lifting Techniques:

Push, don’t throw. Push as much of the snow as you can. If you must throw, do not twist. Lift with your legs and keep your back straight. Position yourself so that you are throwing the snow straight ahead of you.

Winter is here to stay…at least for the next few months. Before long, the days will grow longer and the beautiful white covering on the ground will be gone. In the meantime, keep your back happy and healthy with these tips and be sure to visit your chiropractor and massage therapist to keep you functioning at your best.

To book an appointment, call 613.860.8600 for our Byward location, and 613.237.9000 for our Glebe location.