Do a warm-up period of 5 minutes (if that’s not possible, go to tip # 2). This can include seated trunk movements, including rotation, tilt, flexion, and extension, and then make large-arm rotations of 10 to 30 push-ups by placing the hands to the wall (or to the ground depending on your physical shape), and finish by jumping on the spot for 30 seconds or more. Increase the warm-up time according to the duration and intensity of the effort to come.
In Norway, some types of fractures are nearly four times more frequent during stormy days, mainly because of falls and road accidents.
Time is running out for a warm-up period in good form? Then go for a compromise: shovel slowly during the first two minutes, then gradually reach your cruising speed for the next three minutes. This solution is not ideal, but it is better than a lack of heating.
Avoid twisting of the trunk. A simple way to do this is to keep your feet and shoulders in the same direction. For example, if you turn to one side to drop the snow, move your shoulders, trunk and feet in the same direction and at the same time. Thus, there will be no torsion; this movement is particularly stressful when you are leaning.
Bend your knees rather than leaning your back as far as you can. The muscles of the thighs are among the largest in the human body and above all, they are much more powerful than those of the back. In other words, as soon as you bend down to take the snow, use your thighs by bending your knees and unfolding them as you sit up.
Use a shovel with a curved handle to help complete Tip # 4. This type of shovel would reduce trunk flexion by about 8 degrees and decrease the stress on the lower back by 16% when lifting snow ( Lewinson et al., 2014). Make sure, however, that the handle of the shovel is adapted to your morphology, for example, to the length of your arms.
“In the United States, more than 11,000 people are treated annually in shovel-based emergencies, including 34% for low back injuries. “
Increase the muscle strength of your thighs for the next snowfall. For example, lean against the wall and take the position of the flesh for 30 to 60 seconds, 4 times, giving you 30-second breaks. For some people, this exercise is very demanding, hence the importance of choosing an adequate flexion angle in order to finish the exercise: the less the knees are bent, the easier it is. Note that exercise should not reproduce pain.
Reduce or slow down. The most common joint injuries caused by shoveling involve the lower back and occur when the trunk recovers. The extension effort is often intense, repeated and abrupt. To prevent these accidents, reduce the volume of snow on each shovel, use a smaller, lighter shovel or slow down the movements.
In the best of all possible worlds, push the snow rather than lift it, and drop it gently rather than throwing it.
Avoid shoveling if you suffer from cervical or lumbar disc herniation, especially if your pain radiates to the upper or lower limb.
Follow the 7 essentials to keep your heart safe by shoveling, as they will be just as helpful in helping you prevent back and other joint injuries.