With the winter approaching, it is wise to review a few safety tips for shoveling snow.
To help keep your back in shape and your driveway clear, the Ontario Chiropractic Association offers the following preventive tips:
- Warm up. Before beginning any snow removal, warm up for five to 10 minutes to get the joints moving and increase blood circulation. To do this, march on the spot, climb the stairs, or go for a quick walk around the block. Follow this with some gentle stretches for the back (knee to chest), arms and shoulders (body hug), and legs (forward bends from a sitting position). This will ensure that your body is ready for action.
- Don’t let the snow pile up. Removing small amounts of snow on a frequent basis is less strenuous in the long run.
- Pick the right shovel. Use a lightweight, non-stick, push-style shovel.
- Push, don’t throw. Push the snow to one side and avoid throwing. If you must throw, avoid twisting and turning – position yourself to throw straight at the snow pile.
- Bend your knees. Use your knees, legs and arm muscles to do the pushing and lifting while keeping your back straight.
- Watch the ice. Coarse sand, ice salt, ice melter, or even kitty litter can help to give your walkways and driveways more traction, reducing the chance of a slip or fall.
- Wear proper footwear. Shoes and boots with solid trends on the soles can help to minimize the risk of slips and falls.
- Take a break. If you feel tired or short of breath, stop and take a rest. Make it a habit to rest for a moment or two for every 10 or 15 minutes during shovelling. This is especially important if the snow is wet and heavy. Stop shovelling immediately if you feel chest or back pain.
The Ontario Chiropractic Association represents the professional interests of more than 2,700Ontariochiropractors. Chiropractic is a regulated health care profession recognized by statute in all Canadian provinces.
Dr. Scott Dunham