I hurt my back shoveling every year – is there any way to prevent it?

As the temperature drops and the snow begins to fall, it’s important to know how to shovel carefully so you can enjoy the weather without injury. The Ontario Chiropractic Association has provided a number of helpful tips to allow you to clear away the snow without pain (http://www.chiropractic.on.ca/lift-light-to-shovel-right-your-back-health#.VII_e74Vc_s).

As with all physical activities, visiting a doctor may be an important first step.

Once you’re cleared for activity, it’s important to remember how strenuous shoveling can be – treati it like a workout! Before you begin, make sure that you are well-hydrated, and you’re dressed right for the job: wear layers and shoes or boots treaded soles. Just as you would before any other exercise, make sure to warm up with a five to 10-minute walk first.

A push-style shovel will help you use a push technique and avoid throwing the snow when possible. Look for a curved handle so that you can stay upright, and a small blade so that you will move less snow; although this might take longer, it will be safer, and more comfortable. If you must lift and throw the snow, keep your back as straight as possible and use the muscles in your legs and arms together. It’s also important to avoid twisting while you lift – position your body so that you can throw the snow in a straight line.

Use these shoveling tips, and stay fit and healthy all winter!