March is one of the snowiest months in Denver and it also tends to be wet heavy snow. Every year about 2 weeks after a heavy snowfall we start seeing back and shoulder injuries. Besides the obvious advice to have somebody else do it, we thought these 6 snow shoveling tips would help to potentially reduce your risk for injury.
1.) Warm up. Try stretching or easy dynamic movements before you shovel. Most shoveling is done first thing in the morning and in cold conditions before our body is ready for strenuous activities.
2.) Stay aligned. Maintain a neutral or straight spinal alignment. In other words don’t bend or round your back while lifting.
3.) Use your legs. Get low and lift the snow by bending and lifting with your legs. This will reduce the load on your back and shoulders. Start by bending your hips and lowering your butt like you would be sitting in a chair, but with a split stance. After you are low and your shovel is full of snow lift up with your legs and gently move the snow off of your path.
4.) Don’t hold your breath. Snow shoveling can be more vigorous than expected and you don’t want to pass out. In addition with proper breathing you should not get as tired and be less likely to use poor form.
5.) Move your feet. Twisting or twisting with lifting with weight on a shovel can be hard on your back. If you have to move the snow to either side move your feet to reposition snow.
6.) Don’t overload the shovel. Try moving smaller amounts of snow at one time.
If you already have back pain you can try using a lumbar support, hiring someone else to do the work, or buying a snowblower. If these 6 snow shoveling tips don’t go into the details that you would like and want more advice on proper snow shoveling, please ask us. If you want supervised practice show up at my house the morning after a large snowstorm. Ha!
We hope this helps.