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6 Tips for Avoiding Snow Shoveling Injuries

CARTOON-SNOW-SHOVEL-BOY-122710This isn’t the first time we’ve received a large snow fall on February 14th. Anyone else remember 2007? Some parts of Vermont reached as much as 16-24 inches over this past weekend. If you are still digging yourself out here are some tried and true tips for keeping yourself free of stress and strain:

1) Push the snow, do not lift it. Pushing puts far less strain on your spine and back muscles. Never throw snow over your shoulder, and be sure to keep your abdominal muscles tight while working. Your abdominals are your natural back brace!

2) Be sure your muscles are warm before you start shoveling. Cold, tight muscles are more likely to sprain or strain than warm, relaxed muscles.

3)When you grip your shovel, make sure your hands are al least 12 inches apart. By creating distance between your hands, you increase your leverage and reduce the strain on your body.

4)If you need to lift the snow do a partial squat. With your legs hip width apart, bend your knees and hips keeping your back braced. Lift with your legs and be sure to move your feet instead of twisting your back.

5) Remember that wet snow can be very heavy. One full shovel load can weigh  25 pounds or more! Scoop smaller amounts of snow at a time, especially if you need to lift.

6)Take frequent breaks to gently stretch your back, arms and legs. Drink plenty of water!