None of us like to do it, but shoveling snow is a necessity in New Jersey winters. The truth is, shoveling snow can be a good workout if you do it correctly. But when not done properly, shoveling can lead to serious injury. Here are some tips to protect your back when shoveling snow.
Use the Right Kind of Shovel
Before we get into the proper form while shoveling, it’s essential to have the right type of shovel for the job. A shovel with a curved handle will allow you to stand as upright as possible while you shovel, minimizing the need to bend forward and strain your back. Also, the lighter the shovel, the better, so look for a high-quality shovel made from lightweight material. The lighter the weight you have to lift with each pile of snow, the fewer chances of muscle strain.
Warm Up First
Treat shoveling like any other exercise, warm up your muscles first. Do some gentle stretching for a few minutes followed by some walking or jogging in place. You’re less likely to sustain an injury with warmed muscles.
Lift with Your Legs
When lifting piles of snow on your shovel, lift the weight with your leg muscles and not your back. Bend your hips and knees and focus your strength in the muscles of your legs. Never lift a load of snow that is heavier than you can handle. It might take longer, but lifting smaller piles of snow will ensure you don’t put any unnecessary strain on your lower back muscles.
Consider Other Options
If you have back problems and don’t want to risk injuring yourself by shoveling, there are other options. Consider investing in a snow blower or hiring someone to do the work for you. A little extra money is worth saving you from additional back pain.
If you’ve recently hurt your back from shoveling snow, make an appointment with your chiropractor right away.