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Although it came late this year, snow is an inevitability, and for many of us that means bundling up and shoveling the driveway! However, shoveling snow can do much more than just leave you cold and sore; unsafe technique may lead to serious injury, or even heart attacks. Follow these simple guidelines to make sure you’re shoveling smart!

  • Warm Up Before You Start
    • You warm up before you exercise to avoid cramping and injury, right? Well, shoveling pounds of snow is exactly¬†that! Jog in place or do a few quick jumping jacks to get your blood pumping, and be sure to stretch your hamstrings, lower back, arms and shoulders. A little preparation before you head out can help prevent bigger issues once you’re done.
  • Use the Right Kind of Shovel, and Use it Well
    • Investing in an ergonomic shovel is money well spent. The curved handle isn’t just for show; that design helps reduce how much you need to bend your knees and back, giving them additional support. These shovels are also lighter than their traditional counterparts.
    • Remember the golden rule of safe shoveling: push the snow instead of lifting it as much as possible. When you do have to lift, treat lifting the snow like you would lifting a heavy box or piece of furniture, using your legs, not your back! Also, try to avoid twisting as you lift, or trying to toss the snow over your shoulder, as the unnatural movement combined with the heavy snow is a terrible combination.
  • Don’t Overdo It
    • The safest way to approach shoveling is to take it in moderation. Sure, everyone wants it over with as fast as possible, but rushing this chore is a quick way to fall, injure yourself, or worse. Go out more often so there’s less accumulation. In deep snow, don’t try and lift the whole shovel-load each time; scoop off the top each time to reduce the strain on your back. Finally, take breaks every 15 minutes or so, to help minimize the stress on your muscles.
    • Remember, during snow shoveling (or any¬†strenuous activity), always listen to your body. If you start to feel numbness, chest pains, or pain, stop shoveling immediately. The snow is a pain, but it’s not more important than your health!

Shoveling snow is a necessary evil for all of us in the Northeast, but it doesn’t mean you can’t minimize the risks. Shoveling will always leave you stiff and sore, but it shouldn’t leave you injured. Use these tips to make sure you’re shoveling safe, and once the job is done, be sure to make an appointment with Stellar Therapeutic Massage to truly help those tired muscles!

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