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Staying Safe While Clearing the Snow

By Donna Stark

Did you wake up to a beautiful snowy scene outside? I bet your children are happy that they get to go sledding and can spend the day building igloos, but there is little happiness in sight for you, isn't that right? That's because the only thing you have to look forward to is all the shoveling that is needed to dig everyone out. But before you throw on your jacket, grab your shovel, and head into that misery, take some time to read the safety tips below. They may be exactly what you need to save yourself from injury.

Warm Up

Those freezing temperatures can be hard on your body, especially your muscles, so take a few minutes before heading outdoors to warm them up. Warming up your muscles will relax and loosen them, which will improve their flexibility, increase their range of motion, and reduce the risk of injury.

Lift Correctly

The snow may look light and fluffy as is it coming down, but when it comes time to shovel, it can be pretty darn heavy! If you have space, try to push it instead of lifting it. But if space is limited and you have to pile it up, be sure to use the correct technique. Here are a few tips.

  • Invest in an ergonomic shovel
  • Bend at your knees and lift with your leg muscles
  • Keep your back in a neutral position
  • Avoid awkward twists by turning your body in the direction you are going to place the snow
  • Space your hands appropriately for the best leverage

Don't Rush

The laughter coming from your children could make you want to rush, but it's important to prioritize your safety first. You can reduce the stress and strain on your back when shoveling by lifting smaller and lighter loads of snow, and you can reduce the risk of falls by taking smaller, intentional steps. Sure, it may add time to the job, but at least you won't be needing medical care when done!

Dress Appropriately

The best way to dress for work in the snow is to dress in layers. Your layers should consist of a base layer, a layer of warmth, and a final layer to protect you from the elements. Don't forget about wearing thick, comfortable socks, weather-appropriate shoes, a hat, a scarf, and some gloves too!

Get the Job Done So You Can Play With Your Children

By taking your time and focusing on your safety while shoveling, you can look forward to joining your children and having the time of your life playing in the snow. Just watch out for those sneaky snowball attacks. You know they will be coming!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Bellevue, Wash. 

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