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 many areas have only received a couple of inches, more is to come over the weekend. And if it's heavy and wet, shoveling is an extra challenge and a dangerous one, too. 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.
Give your shovel a spray
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.
Push, don’t throw
Many people scoop and throw shovelfuls of snow to one side, but don’t. LaVar Larks, D.C., 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.
Lift with your legs
If you do lift a load, make sure to lift from your legs, with bent knees. Avoid using your back to hoist heavy snow.
Take a break
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.