It’s been a long winter and snow can pile up on any day. But let’s face it. If you need to shovel then you know how tough it can be on your back and your joints. Here are some ways that you can do to prepare for it.
– Get Your Temperature Up
Before going outside, make sure that your joints and muscles are warmed up. You will need to do some active stretching – meaning using movements in the joints that you will perform in order to shovel.
One example is performing squats 10 – 20 reps using just your body weight to open up your hips, knees, and back.
Another variation is to do a split-squat. Just spread your feet apart shoulder width apart with one leg forward by about 2 ft. Then you would perform a small squat for 10 – 20 reps as well, and repeat on the other side. This is to prepare for the motion you will be doing while shoveling.
– You Need the Right Equipment
For obvious reasons, you will need to dress appropriately to keep those muscles and joints warmed up. It is easy for them to get stiff pretty quickly if you are not dressed right and you will be prone to injury. Wear your winter jackets, hats, and gloves.
If you know that it’s going to snow, you should check how your shovels are. Make sure it’s not bent or rusted. Otherwise, you are going to have a hard time with a broken shovel and will be putting in twice the effort. Investing in a good shovel is worth your while but if you can afford a snowplow, you can avoid a lot of the physical work.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “use your legs, not your back!” Try not to double-over as you’re shoveling as that will put a lot of pressure on your back. Try to squat down with one leg forward and one leg back as you shovel the snow in front of you. Remember to take your time and take breaks in-between. If you can get more people to help you, ask them – especially if you have a lot of ground to cover. Shoveling can be a great workout but not so much as to break your own back for it.
If you end up being injured…
If you pull your back, roll your ankle, or experienced a slip-and-fall, you can call up your physical therapist or Physical Therapy Fresh Meadows, NY and come in for an evaluation. If it’s not too serious, the physical therapist can work on you that day and provide tissue and mobility work, apply modalities for the pain, prescribe you certain exercises/stretches to perform towards healing.