How to shovel snow properly
The snow is still falling in Chicago which means more shoveling. At Irving Park Chiropractic, we believe that shoveling snow can be a great exercise if done correctly. However, it can also cause great pain to your body. Below are some tips on how to prevent harm.
1) Warm up and stretch: : If you can take a walk, or get your body moving before you pick up the shovel, this will help prepare your muscles for the work. Also stretching your hamstrings, your back, and your shoulders before and after shoveling. Stretch gently when you’re done and use an ice pack and ibuprofen to take care of inflamed muscles. Rest and remain hydrated.
2) Look straight ahead and maintain good posture: looking down all the time will injure your neck. Here is how your body should be positioned:
A. Use your leg muscles as much as possible – push snow when you can and use your legs to lift when you can’t push it.
B. Keep your back straight as you move from the squat position to the upright position.
C. Use your shoulder muscles as much as possible.
D. Hold the snow shovel as close to your upper body as possible.
E. Keep one hand close to the shovel blade for better leverage.
F. Don’t twist your upper body as you throw snow.
3) Dress appropriately: don’t over do the clothing. You are moving your body and anything that restricts movement will not go unnoticed. Dress in loose-fitting layers that you can peel off as you heat up. Wear a hat. A great deal of body heat is lost through the head. Proper boots are also essential for keeping feet warm and dry while appropriate soles provide traction. Good boots can help you maintain your balance! Also, choose gloves that will keep your hands warm, dry, and blister free. Consider thicker gloves, which allow for a good grip on the shovel’s handle.
4) Take your time and allow time for rest: No one said it was a race. Take your time and stop for a break when needed.
5) Only do what you can: if you are out of shape, or just don’t feel like you can finish it all, break it up into segments.
6) Drink plenty of water: It is important to stay hydrated during and after: keep your body hydrated.
7) Shovel as it snows: this keeps the depth at a minimum. Shoveling 2 inches, 3 times is a lot easier than 6 inches all at once.
8) Don’t throw snow over your shoulder! Go forward with the snow.
9) Have fun and get the community involved: Shoveling with a friend or neighbor is inherently more enjoyable than shoveling on your own. Plus, it’s quicker to get the job done with two or three sets of hands. Also, keep in mind that not everyone is able to shovel snow or operate a snow blower. Consider the disabled senior population.
Remember to think of snow shoveling as exercise instead of work. Your body can actually benefit from getting outside and moving. Resistance exercise builds bone density. If you experience pain or discomfort while shoveling, stop and seek care. In our office we help all types of people who have hurt themselves. There is a better way to take care of your body, we can show you how. Let us show you how Irving Park Chiropractic can restore balance to your body and help you get out of pain. Call us today at 773.880.0880.