The Chicago area, where more than fifty of Chiro One’s centers are located, just experienced its first real snow storm of the year. While most areas received only 4 to 6 inches, the snow was especially heavy and wet, making shoveling a challenge. And it’s a dangerous one, too, with over 11,500 emergency room visits a year attributed to this necessary cold weather task, according to a 2009 study by the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.
Protect yourself by following our top tips for safe shoveling that protect your back and the rest of your body, too.
Prepare for shoveling as you would any other workout; stretch out for at least five minutes before you begin. Dress in many layers that you can peel away if you get too warm and remember to cover your extremities, too.
Pick up an inexpensive can of Teflon spray at your local home improvement store to have on hand. Give your shovel a quick coat before heading out.
Many people scoop and throw shovelfuls of snow to one side, but don’t. LaVar Larks, D.C., the Chiropractic Director of Chiro One Wellness Centers of Chicago – the Loop says that’s the number one mistake people make while shoveling. Dr. LaVar recommends protecting your back from injury by pushing snow, instead of picking it up and twisting.
If you do lift a load, make sure to lift from your legs, with bent knees. Avoid using your back to hoist heavy snow.
Shoveling is extremely hard work for your whole body, including your heart. If you’re tired, take a break. The snow will still be there when you’re feeling refreshed.
Learn more about safe snow shoveling by watching Dr. LaVar on yesterday’s Chicago ABC 7 News.