Shoveling Safety 101
Prepare for the activity. Walk around your house a few times, go up and down the stairs, warm-up!
Perform joint mobility exercises such as the prone press-up and quadruped thoracic spine rotation (pics/videos below) to get your joints moving in the direction you need for shoveling.
Practice proper shoveling technique.
Choose the right shovel. There are many types of shovels on the market, so try several of them out and see the ones that fit you the best. There are ergonomic shovels with curved handles that can minimize the effort needed to lift snow. Pick a shovel that is light weight (usually made of plastic) and has a reinforced sharp edge in order to get as close to the ground as possible.
Don’t lift more than you are able to. It is better to lift lighter amounts of snow and take a little longer, rather than lifting heavy shovels full of snow. This will decrease the probability of straining your low back. The type of snow, whether it is dry and flakey versus wet and heavy, will also dictate how much snow can be lifted at one time.
Your legs were meant for lifting. Your back is meant to keep you upright and not for lifting anything heavy. You should not bend from the back. Rather, bend at your knees and straighten them when you are lifting. Avoid lifting and twisting at the same time. These techniques will help you stay upright and safe.
Perform an additional set of mobilizations after the activity. This is key! Complete another round of press-ups and thoracic mobilization making sure to get back your full range of motion pain free prior to moving on with your day.
Happy blizzard! Stay safe!