Shoveling Snow? Peninsula Home Care’s Got Your Back!Published on - January 5, 2018
Snow can be pretty heavy, especially the wet stuff. So if you haven’t been working out regularly or maybe never really thought about the “safe” way to shovel snow, you may end up hurting yourself. Here are some tips to help you prevent waking up with those aches and pains after a full day of shoveling.
- Bend from your hips and knees, NOT your back
Just as when you do a squat or even sit back into a chair, lean your upper body forward from your hips and knees while you balance your weight over your feet by leading and reaching back with your butt.
- Maintain a neutral spine
Try not to bend or arch away from your midline comfort zone. To maintain neutral you will have to engage your abdominal and low back muscles, working the low back extensors most as you bend, to stabilize your low back and keep it from rounding.
- Avoid reaching too far
Shovel the snow close to you – the more outstretched your arms are when you lift, the heavier the snow effectively becomes, placing a greater strain on your low back.
- Lift from your legs
Just like when you lift a heavy box from the floor, rise from your knees and hips to avoid overdoing it on your back.
- Pivot to avoid excess twisting of your trunk
Allow your hips to move with your shoulders so that you require less rotation of your spine. When you are moving the snow from here to there, pivot over your back foot while turning your trunk toward the opposite side.
- If the snowfall was a big one, lift and move it in layers to limit the weight
You don’t have to go all the way down to the sidewalk with each dig.
- Take rest breaks and be sure to stay hydrated
You may not realize how much you are actually exerting when you shovel snow. Drink before you get thirsty to avoid dehydration and rest to stay strong and refreshed.
Delegate shoveling if you have a cardiac history, lower back problems, or are suffering from a shoulder or knee injury.
About Peninsula Home Care
Providing care for more than 30 years, Peninsula Home Care, in Salisbury, Maryland, ensures that all patients are involved in their plan of care and strives to give them every opportunity to maintain their independence in the home. The agency has served more than 39,000 patients on Delmarva and was designated as a Peninsula Regional Medical Center preferred home care provider in 2017. For more information, visit www.peninsulahomecare.com.