The winter season is upon us and that means one day soon (if you haven’t already), it’ll be time to break out the shovel and clear your driveway after a snowy storm. Snow shoveling is never all that fun, but in some instances, it can actually be dangerous.

Every year we see practice members who have hurt themselves after a heavy snowfall. And the worst part? These injuries are totally preventable if the proper precautions are taken.

Keep your spine happy and healthy this snowy season by following these safety tips:

Safety Tip #1 – Warm up Before Going out in the Cold

Shoveling is a great way to fit some extra exercise into your routine. But as with any physical activity, it’s important to warm up and stretch beforehand. Do your back a favour and take a few minutes to limber up and get your blood circulating before picking up that shovel or taking part in any other strenuous winter activity.

Safety Tip #2 – Dress for the Weather

Wear proper footwear with good treads on the soles to help prevent tripping and falling on slippery snow and ice. Also remember to dress in several layers to keep your muscles warm and flexible while working outside.

Safety Tip #3 – Pick the Right Shovel

Get yourself a lightweight, ergonomically designed shovel with a curved handle to help reduce strain on your back and body. Using a shovel with a smaller blade is also a good idea; it may take a bit longer to clear the driveway, but will help prevent you from lifting too much heavy snow at once and injuring yourself.

Safety Tip #4 – Push, Don’t Throw

Whenever possible, push the snow to one side rather than lifting or throwing it. If you do have to lift a shovelful of snow, grip the shovel with one hand on the handle and the other as close to the blade as you can. Make sure you bend at the knees, keep your back straight, lift with your legs and always avoid any sudden twisting or turning movements.

Safety Tip #5 – Pace Yourself and Take Breaks

Most injuries happen when you’re rushing or feeling fatigued. If you need to shovel out the driveway before leaving for work, try to get up a bit earlier so you can pace yourself and take breaks frequently to avoid straining yourself.

We hope these tips will help you and your spine stay safe while shoveling snow this winter!

A consultation with our team of expert chiropractors, physiotherapists, RMTs and naturopaths is also great way to get your body aligned and ready for any strenuous outdoor activities this season. Book your next visit to Align here: https://alignyourhealth.ca/book-appointment/.

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Please note: Requesting an appointment does not guarantee availability at your preferred date and time, a member of the Align team will follow-up with you to confirm your appointment.

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