How to Prevent Back Injuries while ShovelingFebruary 8, 2013
Just a few days ago, Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring. Whether or not that’s true, there are many of us who still have snow to deal with until Spring makes her appearance.
While the white, fluffy stuff might be beautiful, it also brings an increased risk of back injuries due to shoveling. And no one likes a sore back.
So as that snow continues to pile up outside, here are some tips to save your back.
- Stretch before going out to tackle any load.
- Wear the proper clothing to protect yourself from the cold.
- Choose shoes with a great grip so you don’t slip.
- Wear gloves to protect your hands from the cold and that give you a good hold on the shovel.
- Pick the right shovel. An ergo shovel is the ideal choice in snow shovels for a number of reasons. First, the blade is a lightweight plastic to make your loads easier to lift. Second, the shaft of the shovel is angled to help you maintain body posture and minimize stress on your back while shoveling. Third, ergo shovels often feature a D-grip handle for maximum grip and comfort.
- Push the snow to where you want it, and then lift.
- Lift with your knees, not your back. Rather than twisting your torso, move your feet and keep your back as stable as possible.
- Shovel early and often. The sooner you shovel after a snowfall, the lighter the snow will be. The same goes for shoveling often, the more often you shovel, the less snow you will have to move each time.
- Stay hydrated.
- Take breaks as needed.
If you’re looking for some stretches to loosen up before shoveling, we liked these suggestions from Fitsugar.com:
Forward Bend Stretch
- Stand with your shovel in front of you, holding the handle with both hands
- Walk your feet back, lowering your chest, and stopping once your feet are underneath your hips
- Relax your head and draw your shoulders away from your ears. Hold for at least 30 seconds as you breathe deeply and allow your lower back to release
Lower Back and Hamstring Stretch:
- From the forward bend position, stand up and walk forward a few inches
- Place your right heel on top of the shovel and fold forward over your right leg. Keep your left leg straight. To bend deeper into the stretch, hold the top of the handle with your right hand and rest your left hand below it as far as you can.
- Hold for at least 30 seconds. Switch to your left side and repeat.
As you combine these preventative measures with Orbit’s specially designed ergo shovels, your risk of back injury will be reduced, giving you more time to enjoy the snow on your own terms.
Here’s wishing you happy and safe shoveling, and an early spring!