The Scoop on Snow Shoveling 
Wednesday, October 10, 2018 at 2:21PM
Dr. Martin Dziak in Physiotherapy, shovelling snow

While many people recognize that shovelling snow is hard work, physiotherapists caution that shovelling can place severe stress on your heart, and cause stress and strain on your body. Research has identified snow shovelling as a high-risk activity for heart problems. Every year, shovellers also sustain injuries such as pulled and strained muscles from repetitive twisting and improper lifting. However, Canadians can still enjoy cardiovascular benefits from snow shovelling, if they prepare themselves and listen to their bodies.

Snow shovelling has a similar intensity to jogging, racquet sports, and other strenuous sporting activities. Individuals will be better prepared for shovelling if they avoid being sedentary by regularly participating in activities like walking.

Important tips for shovellers include warming up before shovelling, taking frequent breaks, and separating the job into smaller stages to prevent overexertion. Shovellers should take notice of any symptoms of back pain or repetitive strain, and should be aware of any warning signs of cardiac distress including shortness of breath, chest and/or upper body pain or discomfort, palpitations, and other symptoms such as anxiety, sudden extreme fatigue, nausea, dizziness or lightheadedness.

Shovelling can be made even more difficult by the weather. Cold air makes it harder to work and breathe, which adds extra strain on the body. Cold, tight muscles are more likely to strain than warm, relaxed muscles. Take time to stretch and prepare your body for activity with a simple warm-up before shovelling, and wear warm clothing.

 

PHYSIOTHERAPY CAN HELP

Physiotherapists offer the following tips to you help get a handle on safe shovelling:

1. CHOOSE A SHOVEL THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU

 

2. USE PROPER TECHNIQUES

 

3. TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY

If you are experiencing pain, consult a physiotherapist. Physiotherapists are primary health care professionals who help people of all ages and lifestyles gain and maintain their physical mobility. With their applied knowledge and understanding of the human body in action, physiotherapists can work with you to increase your mobility, relieve pain, build strength, improve balance and increase cardiovascular function. Physiotherapists will also help you prevent the onset of pain or injury, allowing you to maintain your desired level of active living.

Article cited from https://physiocanhelp.ca

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