Preventing shovelling-related injuries
Thursday, Jan 04, 2018 06:00 am
We can’t avoid it, winter means snow in southern Alberta and with the snow comes the arduous task of shovelling. What seems like an everyday task can become quite the head- or back ache if not done correctly.
Fabio Marcucci, a kinesiologist with Airdrie Family Wellness, said the best way to avoid injury is to make sure you warm up.
“You have to prepare your body, so any type of light warm up, stretching the legs, upper body and arms,” he said.
He suggests a warm up for at least 15 to 20 minutes to prepare your body’s muscles for work and for the weather.
“Now you’re going out into the elements, where it’s cold – so, you know, having your heart rate up and getting the muscles warmed to enter that type of activity (helps keep you warm),” he said.
Also warning against the dangers of lifting snow incorrectly, Marcucci said making sure you lift with your legs is imperative.
“When you think about the kinetic chain of events...from lower body to upper body – it’s a matter of engaging all the major muscle groups,” he said.
Start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Marcucci said this ensures good stationary balance. Next, bend at the knees and focus on lifting through your legs and not with your back.
“It’s just a matter of using that upward push,” Marcucci said.
He said the most common shovel-related injuries he sees at the Family Wellness clinic are aggravations of the joint or muscles.
“When you’re using your arms and upper body to move, you have more of a tendency to pull or strain the muscle,” he said.
Even after doing all the necessary preparation to reduce injury, Marcucci said it comes down to choosing the right shovel for you.
“If you’re a taller person, you probably want a longer shaft…. If you’re shorter, obviously you want a shorter shovel,” he said. “It’s all relative to height.”
For more information on Airdrie Family Wellness or shovel-related injuries, visit airdriefamilywellness.com