Walking…And Shoveling…In A Winter Wonderland!

Winter is fast approaching, bringing the joy of seeing glistening snowflakes sparkle under the sun, but also bringing the not so joyous chore of snow shoveling. Because a shovel full of snow can be quite heavy, it is important to know how to safely lift and move snow. If we don’t use proper mechanics when shoveling, we can place unnecessary stress on our back, shoulders, or neck. While shoveling this year, think about these key points:

Bend at your knees and hips, keeping your back straight. Often times we tend to round our back when lifting, which places added stress through the entire back. The knees and hips are well designed to safely bend when squatting to lift heavy loads.

Lift from your legs, not your back. Focus on tightening your buttock and thigh muscles as you lift and dump the snow.

Minimize twisting through your back. Keeping your back in neutral alignment minimizes stress on the muscles and joints of the back when lifting heavy loads. Focus on tightening your stomach muscles throughout the lifting motion.

Keep your shoulders back. Don’t let your shoulders round as you are scooping up the snow. Gently squeezing your shoulder blades back and down improves alignment and stability for the shoulders

Check out the video below for key points to remember the next time you shovel. You won’t regret it! Wishing you all a happy Winter!

Dr. Katie Hall, PT, DPT is a physical therapist at Colorado In Motion

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