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Shovel Right, Save Your Spine

Recently the GTA was hit with one of the biggest snowstorms we’ve seen in the past 50 years! It left us with upwards of 20cm of snow, depending on your location. One thing is for sure, that’s a lot of snow to shovel in one day. As the winter finally hits us, it’s important that we put in our best practice when shovelling the snow on our driveways to save our spines from unnecessary stress. Here are some reminders on how to shovel right this winter:


PERFORM A WARM-UP ROUTINE


It’s best to prepare your body and your spine for the work that’s coming. Best practice is to shovel with a body that is loosened up and ready for lifting. Performing stretches and dynamic exercises help get your muscles and joints ready but also gets the heart prepared for all the hard work.

DRESS APPROPRIATELY

Make sure to bundle up and dress according to the weather outside. Dress in easily removable layers in case the hard work causes you to heat up. It’s definitely a workout that can get you sweating.

PICK THE RIGHT SHOVEL

A lightweight shovel is the best kind of shovel to work with so that you’re not dealing with too much-added weight to lift off the ground. The snow can already be heavy when lifted, so adding more weight with the shovel can cause more strain on your body. Also, understand the kind of shovel that you are using. Not all shovels were made the same. It’s best practice to use a shovel that’s good at pushing the snow, and make sure it’s long enough (chest height when on the ground) so that you don’t have to bend forward too much when using it.

Shovelling TECHNIQUE

Your shovelling technique is very important when it requires lifting. If you can push the snow to the sides of your driveway, that’s best practice to reduce strain. However, when lifting is necessary, be mindful of THROWING the snow without any bending or twisting in the lower back. If you need to get lower, bend at your knees and hips to get underneath the snow. Lift with your hips and your knees and throw the snow forward into the pile. Do not twist to dump the snow as this causes huge stress on your spine and discs. Keep your feet shoulder width apart when squatting and make sure to keep your core tight.

TIMING

Timing is key in order to reduce the load on your body. If your area is calling for lots of snow, do not wait for all the snow to pile up. It may require going out there multiple times, but it reduces the load of snow you have to shovel each time. It’s less strenuous in the long run.

It’s also important to take breaks. The body and especially THE HEART can go through a lot of strain from the hard work, so it’s important to give your body some time to rest, especially during heavy snowfalls. Keep the body warm while you’re resting and drink some water to prepare the body for the rest of the work ahead.

Remember to talk to your Chiropractor if you’re dealing with any of the stress and effects after shovelling the snow. Your Mississauga Chiropractors here to make sure the stress of the snow doesn’t affect your alignment and also your health, so it’s a great idea to see a Chiropractor after shovelling the snow. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at
(905)821-4951.

Also, check out our Youtube video on proper shovelling:

How to Shovel Right

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