* Source: Health.com
Clearing the driveway after a snowstorm isn't only a pain in the butt, it can actually be dangerous if you don't do it carefully. Moving a heavy shovel full of snow repeatedly without proper form can put you at risk of injury.
Here are seven simple tips before you go to shovel snow this winter.
DO A PROPER WARM-UP:
If you just woke up, wait 45 minutes to an hour before shoveling. But before you shovel at any point in the day, move through a quick dynamic warm-up to "wake up" all the right muscles.
FIRE UP THE RIGHT MUSCLES:
The neck, shoulders and low back in particular get pulled forward as you drive the shovel into the snow, and they have to work together to stabilize your body. Keep your knees slightly bent at all times, which takes some of the tension off the low back and hinging at the hips.
HOLD THE SHOVEL CORRECTLY:
Keep a wide grip on the shovel handle—with one hand near the top of the handle and the other close to the actual shovel full of snow—so that you have better control of the heavy load. Also, keep the shovel as close to your body as possible as you carry it.
DON’T TWIST & THROW:
Twisting or hyperextending your back to propel and throw the snow off the shovel is a huge mistake.
You may need to twist your torso a little bit to maneuver the snow, but you should really be thinking about turning your entire body with the shovel in the direction that you want to drop the snow and gently tip the shovel for the snow to drop off.
TAKE A BREAK:
Keep your snow-shoveling intervals short and sweet, taking breaks whenever you need to.
Another tip: Keep the scoops small.
If you want to shovel more efficiently and protect yourself each time you do it, it makes sense to build up your total body strength in general. The foundation of the shoveling movement is a squat.
Other strength moves to add to your routine that will help make you the best snow shoveler in your neighborhood: deadlifts, lateral dumbbell raises, and standing hay-balers.
MAKE SHOVELING SNOW A WORKOUT:
If you're shoveling snow properly, you'll work your glutes, hamstrings, quads, abs, low back, upper back, and shoulders. Once you get into the swing of things and nail your form, you can really start to make it a double-duty chore and up the fitness factor.