Step Ahead Wellness Center Blog

Stay Pain and Injury Free with These Snow Shoveling Tips!

Posted by deborah neiman on Fri, Jan 03, 2014 @ 07:01 AM

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With between 6-10 inches of snow, many of us will be outside shoveling today.  To avoid pain and injury, follow these tips from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:


  • Dress appropriately by wearing slip-resistant shoes and light,
    layered, water-repellent clothing that provides both ventilation and
    insulation.

  • Warm up with some light stretch exercises.

  • Push snow. And if you have to lift snow, use the stronger leg
    muscles for support, not the back.

  • Do not throw the snow over your shoulder or to the side because
    the twisting motion may stress your back.

  • Shovel early and often. The amount of snow that has to be
    removed is less and keeps it from freezing or partially melting and becoming
    harder to remove.

  • Use a proper snow shovel with a pole that is longer, adjustable,
    and curved to decrease the amount of bending needed to lower your risk of
    muscle injury. More user-friendly shovels are typically made of lighter
    materials such as plastic or lightweight aluminum. 

  • Pace yourself and take frequent breaks. Don’t shovel more than
    30 to 60 minutes, just like you would during a regular exercise session.

Step Ahead Wellness Center’s fitness director/certified personal trainer, Noelle Lusardi,  recommends drinking plenty of water before, during and after any winter activity.  “It’s
very important to stay hydrated in cold weather because even though it’s cold out, the body still loses water during exercise.”  Lusardi also recommends taking 5 to 10 minutes to stretch your muscles upon completing any winter sport or activity (including shoveling).  And be sure to
slather on some sunscreen if the sun is out..  always protect the skin as well! 

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