Snow Shoveling Tips
- If you are inactive and have a history of heart trouble, talk to your doctor before you take on the task of shoveling snow.
- Chiropractic adjustments can help improve your ability to tolerate snow shoveling. With all spinal units moving properly, the workload is equally distributed and this reduces strain or sprain at any one particular level.
· Don't shovel snow after smoking, or eating a heavy meal -- these activities all put an extra load on our cardiovascular system.
- Avoid caffeine or nicotine before beginning. These are stimulants, which may increase your heart rate and cause your blood vessels to constrict. This places extra stress on the heart.
· Dress in layers so clothing can be peeled off as the body becomes warm. Overheating puts extra strain on the heart. Wear a scarf over nose and mouth to avoid breathing cold air. Wear a hat to retain body heat.
- Drink plenty of water during the activity. Dehydration is just as big an issue in cold winter months as it is in the summer.
· Pace yourself taking frequent rest breaks. Shovel in sections.
- Warm up your muscles before shoveling, by walking for a few minutes or marching in place. Stretch the muscles in your arms and legs, because warm muscles will work more efficiently and be less likely to be injured.
- Shovel safely by bending legs slightly at the knee, letting thigh muscles do most of the pushing and lifting work; this will reduce strain on the heart and back. Use a shovel with a small scoop and keep loads light and small. Pick the right shovel for you. A smaller blade will require you to lift less snow, putting less strain on your body. Lift with your legs not your back. Bend your knees and keep your back as straight as possible so that the lifting comes from your leg muscles, not your back. Never bend at the waist. Step in the direction that you are throwing snow. This will help prevent the lower back from twisting and will help alleviate any back soreness that you might typically experience the day after a hard shoveling job.
· Create some distance between the hands. This will give you more leverage and make it easier to lift snow.
· If you are experiencing snowfall levels of 12-inches or higher, take it easy and shovel 2-inches off at a time.
· Do push. Don't lift. Save your back and your energy by simply pushing the snow to the side instead of lifting the snow and throwing it off to the side.
· Listen to your body. Stop if you feel pain or observe heart attack warning signs. These may include chest pain as well as shoulder, neck or arm pain; dizziness, fainting, sweating or nausea; or shortness of breath. If you think you're having a heart attack, seek medical help immediately.
Call our office at (204) 253-6995 if you have any questions.