All of us have felt it, the conflicted joy and frustration of a fresh snowfall, especially first thing in the morning. Although dreaded, shovelling snow is actually great cardio that includes the engagement of muscles around the lower back, hips and arms. When shoveling, iIt is important, to be careful and use the right technique. Even if you are physically fit, that doesn’t mean you aren’t at risk for injuries.
Below are some tips on proper technique when shovelling snow:
- To maintain your balance have your feet hip-distance apart
- When lifting a full shovel, avoid twisting and throwing the snowHold the shovel closer to your body so you aren’t over stretching and straining your muscles
- Bend your knees as you start to take up snow in the shovel, engaging your buttocks and thighs
- Using your thighs and buttocks lift yourself up with the the shovel of snow
- Engage your core to help you move the shovel of snow to the area you wish, this will help protect your back. Although lengthy, it’s best to walk the snow over to the area you are piling in rather than flinging it.
If you have a heart condition practise caution as the up and down motion and heavy lifting while shovelling snow increases your heart rate and blood pressure more quickly and dramatically as compared to many other exercises.
Although you’re stepping out for just a few minutes, remember to wear the proper attire for shovelling like non-slip shoes that will give you a good grip and prevent slipping. If you know you’ll be shovelling for a while, mittens will keep your hands warm longer. By dressing appropriately and using these tips you’re sure to enjoy shovelling snow this winter.
Stay warm, stay active, and get shovelling!
Iserson K. V. (2016). Glove and mitten protection in extreme cold weather: an Antarctic study. International journal of circumpolar health, 75, 33564. doi:10.3402/ijch.v75.33564
Shmerling, R. H. (2017). Can Shoveling Snow Pur Your Heart At Risk? Harvard HEalth Blog, Harvard Health Publishing, retrieved on January 4th, 2019 from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/can-shoveling-snow-put-your-heart-at-risk-2017120612887
Shovelling. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. 2011. Available at: https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/ergonomics/shovel.html
Snow Shovelling. Toronto Paramedic Services. 2014. Retrieved from: http://torontoparamedicservices.ca/safety-tips/snow-shovelling/