Snow shoveling can be stressful on the body's cardiovascular system, and bending to lift heavy snow can produce shoulder, leg and back pain. The winter season is just getting started, so here are some tips to avoid such injuries:
- Bend at the knees, not at the waist. Lift from the large leg muscles, not from the back.
- Grip the shovel with one hand low, near the blade, to get better leverage and keep the shovel close to the body.
- Don't overreach; move your feet frequently to keep from leaning over too far.
- Move your feet as you turn to throw the snow aside, to reduce the twist on the back, which can pinch nerves and discs.
- Shovel in 15-20 minute intervals. Take breaks. Repetitive motion tires the back muscles faster.
- While shoveling, stand up straight frequently or gently backbend to ease the strain on the back muscles.