Tips for Safe Snow Shovelling

  Snow is heavy!  We are often in a hurry to shovel the snow and forget how strenuous this activity can be.   Remember that shovelling is vigorous exercise, and should be viewed in much the same way as an athletic event.  It can be very stressful for our heart, and can lead to sprains/strains of the lower back, shoulders, elbows, and wrists.  Contact your chiropractor before you start if you have back problems or pre-existing health conditions.

Protect your back

  Use your legs/hips/knees and a straight back to pick up snow.  Avoid doing all of your lifting with the lower back.  Use your feet to turn and avoid twisting your back while lifting.  Lifting heavy unstable weight while twisting at the waist increases your chances of herniating a disk.  Try to push the snow, rather than lifting it off the driveway.  Lastly, use a light shovel with an ergonomic grip.  Snow scoops can be very effective as well because they don’t allow you to twist or lift the snow.

Shovel often

  If you shovel the snow before it piles up, it is much easier to handle.  Take frequent breaks.  Most injuries occur when the back muscles are tired.  Also, drinking plenty of water to avoid dehydration is always a good practice.

Warm up

  You wouldn’t begin playing your favourite sport without a warm-up, so don’t assume that you can start snow shovelling without warming up.  Begin slowly and let your body get used to the increased activity.  A five minute walk followed by some simple stretching is a good warm up.  Don’t forget to dress appropriately so that you can stay warm and dry.  Also, wearing the proper footwear with solid treads can help minimize the chance of slipping and falling.

What kinds of exercises are most effective for preventing low back injury?

  Current research suggests that muscular endurance is more protective than strength alone.  This means that muscles need to be conditioned to minimize fatigue.  Stability, Balance, and flexibility are also important in activating all the muscles needed to maintain good  posture during shovelling. 

  Download our Snow Shovel Warm up 




Last modified on 05 December 2013
27 November 2013
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Lakeridge Chiropractic

1291 King Street East
L1H 1J2


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