During the winter months snow shoveling can be a pain, considering that each shovelful of snow weighs about six pounds. That’s a lot of repetitive lifting, and wear and tear on your back. These back health tips will ease the hassle of clearing your driveway and help keep your back in shape.
WARM UP BEFORE YOU START
Before tackling any strenuous activity, a quick 10-minute warm up such as a walk around the block will kick-start your muscles for the activity ahead and help prevent injury
DON’T LET SNOW PILE UP
If the weather report calls for several days of snow, frequent shoveling will allow you to move smaller amounts of snow after each snowfall.
PUSH, DON’T THROW
Push the snow to one side and avoid throwing it. If you must throw it, avoid twisting and turning — position yourself to throw straight at the snow pile.
BEND YOUR KNEES
If you need to lift shovels of snow, bend your knees and use your leg and arm muscles to do the work while keeping your back straight.
TAKE A BREAK
If you feel tired or short of breath, stop and take a break. Shake out your arms and legs to recharge.
WATCH FOR ICE
Be careful on icy walkways and slippery surfaces. Intermittent thaws and subsequent freezing can lead to ice building up underfoot, resulting in nasty slips and falls. Throw down some salt or sand to ensure you have a good footing.
PICK THE RIGHT SHOVEL
Use a lightweight push shovel. If you’re using a metal shovel, spray it with Teflon or silicone spray, so snow won’t stick to it.
KEEP COMFORT IN MIND
Dress for the weather
Layer your clothing so you can adapt to changing temperatures. If you become too warm while outdoors, simply remove a layer or two to maximize comfort.
Even though it’s cold outside, your body still needs plenty of fluids. Be sure to drink lots of water or fruit juice before, during and after shoveling. Remember – if you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated.
Take it slow
Rest when you feel tired or short of breath. Stop shoveling if you experience sudden or prolonged joint or muscle pain.
10 TIPS FOR A HEALTHY BACK
1. Exercise regularly.
2. Follow a healthy diet.
3. Maintain good posture.
4. Warm up and cool down before and after physical activity.
5. Don’t overload your backpack or shoulder bag.
6. Stretch your legs and back after each hour of sitting.
7. Never cradle the phone between your neck and shoulder.
8. Sleep on your back or side, not on your stomach.
9. Invest in a good chair, pillow and mattress.
10. Have regular spinal check ups.
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