Safe Shovelling

Many of us experience aches and pains that can be worse in the winter. Folks are often less active, can be more prone to stiffness, leading to more slips and falls, and some health conditions can be worse in the winter as well.

Shovelling is one activity that leaves many people feeling muscle and joint pain. Read on for some tips on how to shovel in a more ergonomic manner! Before shovelling:

  • Make sure you are well hydrated

  • Dress appropriately, wearing boots with good grip

  • Warm up a bit- walk around the block or march in place before you start

  • Purchase an ergonomic shovel, or consider purchasing a device called “The Heft” that attaches to almost any shovel, rake or garden tool (available at hardware stores)

While shovelling:

  • Prepare to take it slow. Shovel for 5-10 mins, then rest for 2-3 mins and admire the sparkling white (or yucky brown) snow.

  • Spray the shovel with WD40 so that snow doesn’t get stuck on it

  • Stand with feet hip width apart, hold the shovel close to your body, and bend your knees rather than your back

  • Avoid twisting while lifting and walk over to dump snow rather than throwing it

  • Try to push snow rather than lift when you can

  • Don’t forget sand or salt to prevent slip-and-falls!

After shovelling:

  • Drink some water and take a rest

  • Light stretching can prevent stiffness

  • If muscles feel sore take an Epsom salt bath

  • If injury occurs see your health care provider

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