Tips on shoveling without hurting yourself

February 11, 2010|By Kelly Brewington

Tips to stay injury-free while shoveling snow
The repetitive movements of snow-shoveling can strain back and shoulders, even for people in great physical shape. When large amounts of heavy snow have fallen, as was the case this week, shoveling can take an extra toll. Here are some tips from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and American Physical Therapy Association for staying safe and avoiding injury:

•Warm up your muscles with 10 minutes of light exercise. Shoveling is a physical workout.

•Pace yourself. Take breaks, walk around and have a drink of water. Try standing back-bends to help reverse forward bending during shoveling. If you get chest pains or experience shortness of breath, stop.

•Lift small loads of snow. Bend your knees and lift with your legs. Don't bend at the waist.

•Use the right shovel - one that's comfortable for your height and weight and has a handle that allows you to keep your back straight while lifting. A handle that's too long makes the load heavier.

•Step in the direction that you're throwing snow and try not to twist as you dump it. That will strain your back.


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