Macdonell Family


Physio Talk : Talking Safe Shoveling
Physio Talk : Talking Safe Shoveling

No Bones About It 

Physio Talk! 

Can You Dig It? Talking: Safe Shoveling

Winter season is upon us and it’s time to grab the shovels and prepare for the return of the white stuff. While we’re all dreaming of a white Christmas, snow can pose a daily challenge to individuals trying to navigate out of their house. 

Shoveling can be a great form of exercise, but it can also put a lot of strain on your muscles and your heart. Shoveling has been known to be associated with an increased risk of heart attacks, slip and fall injuries such as head injuries or broken bones and back pain/strains. 

There are some things that you can do to lower your risk of injuries while shoveling this winter: 

Before You Start: Things to Consider:

  •  Gently warm up and stretch (walk or march in place for a few minutes before beginning)
  •  Wear multiple layers and cover as much skin as possible
  •  Wear footwear with non slip/non skid rubber soles
  •  Shovel at least 1-2 hours after eating 
  •  Use a shovel that’s sturdy, light weight, with a curved handle
  •  Shovel frequently on snowy days – try to be proactive and get out every 3-4 hours if possible
  •  Don’t fill shovel will too much snow – do little bits at a time
  •  Stay hydrated, take frequent breaks and don’t overdo it!

    Shoveling Tips to Minimize Risk:
  •  Bend your knees and engage your abdominal muscles. If you aren’t sure how to do this, notice what your stomach muscles do when you cough. Now, try to replicate this sensation as you shovel but be sure to avoid holding your breath
  •  Keep feet apart and have strong, low stance
  •  Keep shovel close to your body
  •  Scoop and lift upwards with your legs not your back 
  •  Point your feet in direction you want to throw the snow to avoiding twisting of the spine
  •  Push the snow if possible instead of throwing

    As everyone’s situation is unique always consult a registered health professional to help create a management plan that’s effective and safe for you!

Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season!