While snow shoveling is a great way to get in an old-fashioned work out (since it HAS to be done anyway), it also can cause a lot of health problems including heart attacks and back pain.
Practice safe snow shoveling technique
Follow these conditioning and technique recommendations to minimize those risks:
- Breathe evenly. Exhale when pushing or lifting snow. Inhale between. Avoid holding your breath, which can cause changes in your blood pressure and increase stress on the heart.
- Pace yourself. Take 5- or 10-minute breaks so fatigued muscles can rest. This will help you maintain proper technique and avoid injury.
- Warm up before shoveling: Walk around the block or step in place; twist your torso from side to side, gently, and swing your arms in large circles.
- Keep your knees bent. Make shoveling more of a leg exercise than an arm exercise.
- Keep your toes pointed toward where you are moving. Avoid twisting at the waist.
- Elbows should be at or near your sides. It’s best to push, rather than lift snow. Never throw snow over your shoulder; it may injure your back.