As our favourite characters on Game of Thrones love to remind us:
What they don’t teach us on that show is how to protect our bodies while combatting that winter weather. When the snow starts coming down, it’s important to know how we can prevent injury while shovelling.
The Ontario Chiropractic Association’s (OCA) campaign “Lift Light, Shovel Right” gives us some great tips to keep our backs feeling good during the upcoming snowy season. Our team of Chiropractors, Physiotherapists, Massage Therapists, Athletic Therapists and Personal Trainers here at Lawrence Park Health Clinic in North Toronto, would like to share these helpful tips with you!
Don’t wait until the snowfall is finished. Shoveling smaller amounts at a time will put less strain on your back.
Pick the right shovel
A lightweight plastic shovel, especially the pusher-type will help keep the weight of your load down. If you are using a metal one, the OCA recommends spraying it with Teflon first to prevent snow from sticking to the shovel.
Push, don’t throw
Instead of lifting and throwing heavy shovelfuls of snow, pushing it off to the side will help protect you from excess stress on your back. It’s important to avoid sudden twisting and flexing of the spine to prevent any disc injuries.
Bend your knees, maintain neutral spine
If you do have to lift, make sure you’re bending from your knees and not flexing your spine too much.
Try to maintain that natural curve of your lower back (lumbar spine) to help avoid injury.
It’s important to get your body warm and moving nicely before doing any strenuous activity. Something as simple as a short walk, even if you stay in one spot, can be very helpful to keep your body happy.
Sometimes we are too determined to finish our task and forget about the importance of rest. If you feel tired or out of breath, it’s important to take a break. Grab some water, stretch, shake out your arms and legs.
If you are looking for more winter safety tips, or you do injure yourself while shovelling (or doing anything else), give us a call and book in with one of our very knowledgable practitioners. We are your top Toronto health clinic with a chiropractor, physiotherapist, athletic therapist, and several massage therapists and personal trainers on staff.
Just remember – WINTER IS COMING. It’s our goal to keep your body happy and healthy so you can keep up with the winter activities you love doing!
Author: Allie Dennis, BSc. Kin (Hons.)
Toronto Chiropractic Intern | CSEP – Certified Personal Trainer