Stay Safe This Season
When you consider that a shovelful of snow weighs 5 to 7 pounds, you realize how much weight you have to lift to clear your sidewalk or driveway – on average, several hundred pounds!
These tips will help keep your back in top shape:
Don’t Let the Snow Pile Up
If the weather report calls for several days of snow, frequent shovelling will allow you to move smaller amounts of snow at once.
Pick the Right Shovel
Use a lightweight pusher-type shovel that is ergonomically designed. If you are using a metal shovel, spray it with Teflon first, so snow won’t stick to it.
Push, Don’t Throw
Always push the snow to the side rather than throw it. That way you avoid lifting heavy shovelfuls of snow, and sudden twisting or turning movements.
Take a Break
If you feel tired or short of breath, stop and take a rest. Shake out your arms and legs. Stop shovelling immediately if you feel chest pain or back pain. If you have back pain that is severe or that persists for more than a day after shovelling, see a chiropractor. If you have chest pain that is severe, see a medical doctor immediately.
Before tackling any strenuous activity take the time to warm up with some overall conditioning (a 10-15 minute walk, even on the spot, should do it), followed by some simple stretching.
Bend Your Knees
If you find you have to lift a shovelful of snow, use your knees and your leg and arm muscles to do the pushing and lifting, while keeping your back straight.
Dress for the Weather
Layered clothing works better to keep your muscles warm and your skin dry so you don’t get chilled. You may want to invest in clothing designed specifically for winter outdoor activity or layer garments made of natural fibres.
Know When to Rest
Rest when you feel tired. Stop your activity immediately if you experience sudden or prolonged pain in any joint or muscle. Cool down by stretching, and change into dry, warm clothes.
Don’t be fooled by the temperature! Your active body needs plenty of fluids even though it’s cold outside. Be sure to drink lots of water or juice before, during and after winter sports
Ten Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Back:
Follow a healthy diet
Maintain a good posture
Stretch your spine before and after sports
Don’t overload your backpack or shoulder bag
Stretch your legs and back each hour after sitting
Never cradle the phone between your neck and shoulder
Sleep on your back or side, not on your stomach
Invest in a good chair, pillow and mattress
Have regular spinal check ups
Adapted by OCA