5 Exercises You Must do Before Shoveling Snow

Did you know that there are about 11,000 hospital visits a year due to snow shoveling.?  Kids and adults face a multiple of injuries because of the rigorous and strenuous nature of shoveling snow.  Shoveling snow is not an unreasonable activity, but without a proper warm up, good technique and sufficient rest intervals it could send you to the hospital.

According to an article written by Kelli Miller Stacy on WedMD, 195,000 people were treated in a hospital for a variety of injuries (listed below) over a 16 year period.  The study revealed that :

  • Common injuries:  overworked muscles, injuries from falling and injuries from the actual shovel
  • Widespread injuries include: Muscle, ligament, tendon and general soft tissue damage of the lower back
  • Least common, but most serious: 7% of injuries were related to the heart and all deaths from shoveling snow were caused by heart problems.

Here are five exercises you should do before you begin shoveling snow for all ages and fitness levels.  All of these exercises will take 5 minutes.

  1. Begins with basic squats – Place your feet hip width apart, weight in your heels, go only as low as you can without lifting your heels off the ground.  Engage you abs when squatting. Do a set of 15 reps.
  2. Arm circles – Imagine you are doing the backstroke and freestyle swim.  Gently move each arm through a circle in both directions for about 10 repetitions.  Do not force the circle, keep it within your range of motion.
  3. Neck stretches - Standing or sitting up very straight, place one arm behind your back and gently tilt your ear down towards your shoulder on both sides.  Do it slowly and breath through this movement.  Do this 5 times on each side.
  4. Torso rotation –Stand up straight and slightly bend your knees.  Rotate your upper body side to side, as if to look over your shoulder on both the right and left side.  Do not make this ballistic or fast.  Keep it smooth.  Keep the twist comfortable. Do 10 on each side.
  5. Hamstring stretch – While holding onto the table, lift your leg and place it on the seat of a chair.  Square your hips and shoulders with your lifted leg and gently reach for your knee, shin or toes.  Do your best to keep both legs straight (without locking your knee).  Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and then switch.  Do this 3 times on each leg.
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  • After these exercises, shovelling won't be a problem. You'll be too tired to do it.

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