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Hello Snow, Please Don’t Hurt Me!

As winter quickly approaches, the daunting task of cleaning up our driveways is looming.  Many meteorologists are predicting a 'colder-than-normal' winter. With that, I'm sure we can all expect a fair amount of the white stuff.

While snow gets me excited for ski season, shovelling snow is definitely less fun. And if you rush it, or do it improperly, there is serious risk for injury. And while yes, injuries can be treated (certainly by your friendly neighbourhood Chiropractor or Massage Therapist) the dagger-like looks you'll receive from your family every time THEY have to go shovel, and you can't since your injured, are definitely worth avoiding.

Here are some great tips from the Ontario Chiropractic Association on how to avoid injury whilst clearing your snowy driveway:

BEFORE YOU START

  • Drink plenty of water. Any physical work has the risk of dehydration, and it is just as big of a concern in the cold as it is in the heat.
  • Dress in layers. As you warm up you can remove layers to keep cool.
  • Wear proper footwear. Shoes and boots with grippy treads will help to minimize the risk of slips and falls.
  • Pick the right shovel. Use a lightweight, non-stick, push-style shovel if possible. Using a shovel with a smaller blade will force you to lift less snow, and be easier on your body. Consider a shovel with a curved handle which may improve your ergonomics - this will slow down the onset of fatigue.
  • Before you start shovelling, warm up for 5 to 10 minutes to get your body moving and your blood flowing. A brisk walk will do it, especially if the snow is deep!

ONCE YOU ARE READY TO START

PUSH DON'T THROW

Push the snow to one side of the driveway (hence the push-style shovel) and avoid throwing it, as throwing is hardest on your back. If you must throw it, try to throw it straight ahead into your snow pile. Avoid twisting and turning as this can stress your body unnecessarily.

BEND YOUR KNEES

Use your knees, leg and arm muscles to do the pushing and lifting and try to keep your back straight. Leg muscles are much larger than back muscles, and can usually tolerate more work.

WATCH FOR ICE

Be careful on icy walkways and slippery surfaces. Thaw/freeze cycles can cause ice buildup underfoot, and can result in nasty slips and falls. When you encounter ice, make sure to throw down some salt or sand to ensure you have a good footing.

CONCLUSION

Once you’ve put into practice these safe snow shovelling techniques, you’ll be free of injury, and ready to hit those slopes!

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