Tips for Safe Snow Shoveling this Winter Season

ROCHESTER, MICH. – As the temperatures fall, so does snow, which means many people will suffer from injuries due to clearing it out of the way. In order to avoid these painful injuries from shoveling snow, there are simple tips to keep in mind and put to use.

1. Warm up and stretch: It’s warm in the house and cold outside. By taking a short walk outside before starting, your muscles will get warmed up.

2. Invest in a good shovel:  Not all of us have a snowblower, but using that 20-year-old shovel in the garage can create a lot more work for you. Make sure the length is comfortable for you, and that the shovel has a good grip and handle.  

3. Create a plan: Before you start, decide where the excess snow will go.  

4. Good traction: There is often ice underneath a snowy driveway.  As you clear the snow, it is important to have boots with good traction to avoid slip and fall injuries.

5. Don’t throw the snow: By simply pushing the snow to the side and not throwing the snow, you greatly reduce your risk of injury. If you can’t resist the urge to throw snow, avoid twisting and throwing the snow off to the side. This is a weak position for your lower back. Remember that the average weight of snow on a shovel is about 16 pounds.

6. Rest: Take frequent rests to drink water and give yourself a break.

7.  Frequency: It’s not always easy to stay on top of the snow, but shoveling more often reduces the size of the task and prevents an icy layer from forming under the accumulating snow.

8.  Ask for help: Having one or more people help you makes shoveling more fun, and it gets done much faster.

This information is provided by Dr. Kathy Whitmore of Health & Healing Chiropractic at 226 Walnut Drive in downtown Rochester. Whitmore’s office is open Monday through Friday and by appointment on Saturday. A complete listing of hours is available at Whitmore can be reached by phone at 248-656-6957.

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