Since snow season has arrived, it’s time to arm yourself with a shovel and salt to dig through the snowdrifts and icy walkways. However, if you’re prone to back injuries, you may want to consider hiring someone to remove the snow while you sit back and enjoy drinking a cup of hot cocoa.
So how can you prepare to shovel snow safely so not to injure your back?
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, every year approximately 16,500 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries inflicted while shoveling or removing ice and snow manually. Each year in the United States, snow shoveling causes thousands of muscle sprains, broken bones, hurt backs, head injuries, and even deadly heart attacks.
Tips to avoid a snow-shoveling injury include:
|•||Warm up with some light stretch exercises.|
|•||Dress appropriately by wearing slip-resistant shoes and light, layered, water repellent clothing that provides both ventilation and insulation.|
|•||Push snow. And if you have to lift snow, use the stronger leg muscles for support, not the back.|
|•||Do not throw the snow over your shoulder or to the side because the twisting motion may stress your back.|
|•||Shovel often. The amount of snow that has to be removed is less and then lighter.|
|•||Use a proper snow shovel with a pole that is longer, adjustable, and curved to decrease the amount of bending needed to lower your risk of muscle injury. More user-friendly shovels are typically made of lighter materials such as plastic or lightweight aluminum.|
|•||Pace yourself and take frequent breaks. Don’t shovel more than 30 to 60 minutes, just like you would during a regular exercise session.|
Source: www.chicagotribune.com; January 2, 2013.