Hydrate – Even in the winter, we should keep our water consumption up, especially if exerting ourselves. Water actually helps your body maintain its constant temperature, or, in the case of cold weather, keep us warm!
Stretch/warm up – Regardless of your usual physical activity level, a few moments of gentle stretching and warm-ups will allow you to get more done and stay out longer AND reduce the likelihood of injury.
Prep your shovel – a spray coating of some type of lubricant will allow snow to ‘slide off’ easier. This also reduces the likelihood of injury.
Dress appropriately – Layer up and wear materials that will allow your body moisture to escape, yet block the cold from penetrating to the skin. Ski type goggles will protect your eyes as well.
Take it slow – Allow yourself plenty of time! A hurried pace will only put undue stress on your body. And, honestly, if a person is not used to such stress on their body, the risk of physical injury is increased, not to mention any increased load and stress on the cardiovascular system.
Scoop only what you can lift and use your legs – If the snow is deep or you’re clearing the end of the driveway mound, don’t overfill the shovel. Scoop from the top about half or a third of the height.
Walk it over rather than throw it – If the snow is heavy/wet walk the scoopful over to the side rather than try to throw it. This will decrease the risk of injuring your back/shoulders.
Change it up – if you find you’re getting fatigued, go from heavy shoveling to clearing a smaller area or clean off your car – have a snowball fight with the kids, build a snowman…
Take a break – Don’t be afraid to stop for a while, if you’re body is telling you to stop, STOP! We have these amazing things in our body called proprioceptors. Proprioceptors let us know when our muscles, tendons and joints are coming to their limit before injury.
Once you’re all done, book yourself a massage with your friendly neighborhood massage therapist