It's already March but that doesn't mean we're out of snow storm season in NJ! Shoveling snow can be a very hazardous activity for your back. Done correctly, though, it can also be a great opportunity for a workout!
Here are some tips to help you avoid throwing your back out while shoveling and cash in on a killer workout instead.
- Foam roll first. It’s important to warm up your muscles and joints before any strenuous activity. My personal favorite way to stretch and warm up is by foam rolling. See our video library for foam rolling demos.
- Engage your core. Pull your belly button in and your rib cage down to protect your low back.
- Bend at your knees. Instead of making your arms and shoulders do all the heavy lifting, engage your legs while moving snow to allow the stronger low body muscles to do some of the work.
- Keep your arms and shoulders as close to your body as possible. When engaging the shovel and lifting the snow keep your arms and shoulders as close to your body as possible. They are levers (your torso is the fulcrum) and keeping them close to your body will minimize the effect of the extra weight of the snow.
- Take frequent breaks. The cold weather may prevent you from working up a serious sweat but that doesn’t mean your muscles aren’t feeling the heat. Make sure you stay hydrated and if you need to take a break (or call someone with a snowblower), take one!
Below, Dr. Todd demonstrates safe shoveling technique:
DO THIS: NOT THAT:
Keep these tips in mind while shoveling and your arms, shoulders, and back will thank you tomorrow!
Enjoy your snow day!