With Nemo, one of the biggest storms we have seen in the region pending, (not the clownfish we all love), most of us will be spending our Friday and Saturday shoveling. Shoveling snow can wreak havoc on the musculoskeletal system. Here are some tips to help prevent injury:
- Layer clothing to keep your muscles warm and flexible.
- Warm up. Prior to shoveling do 10 jumping jacks and 5-10 air squats. This will warm your muscles up and help prevent straining them.
- While shoveling, push the snow straight ahead. Avoid throwing it and any twisting or turning motion.
- Bend at your knees and not at your back. Let the muscles of your arms and legs perform the work.
- Shoveling is not a physical activity that we have been performing regularly. Therefore, you need to take frequent breaks. Fatigue can set in quickly, especially if you are not used to performing physical activity and fatigue sets you up for injury. Frequent breaks will help prevent fatigue.
- STOP if you feel chest pain or have shortness of breath. You may need immediate professional help.
- Drink water. Shoveling leads to perspiration which can lead to dehydration. Dehydration also sets you up for injury. Drink water each time you take a break and after shoveling.
- Stretch after. Perform static stretches (the kind we all did in gym class) of the arms, legs and back. Stretching helps re-align muscle fibers after physical activity.
As always, listen to your body. It is better to take your time and be safe, rather than pushing it and injuring yourself. Have fun and be safe in the snow!!