Snow Shoveling Advice

Snow shoveling is an annual event in many areas. MoveSMART® practices can be great contributors to making that hefty job a bit easier and safer. Including something in your training and coaching sessions about applying techniques and principles to that task is great favor to those you work with.

The static lifting required of shoveling creates greater pressure on muscles, joints, and the heart. It is especially challenging when normally sedentary people exert themselves with bodies that are not prepared for the effort. Moving around on a slippery surface adds to the stress and risk involved.

Also, a lot of snow shoveling is probably done early in the day after a new snowfall. Often that time period is when the body isn’t quite awake yet and therefore more vulnerable.

Here are a few points you can include as you talk about and demonstrate the various MoveSMART® techniques and strategies:

– Before attacking that snowy walk or driveway, warm up and loosen up with a few stretches.

– Respect the limitations of your physical conditioning.

– Wear gloves that keep your hands warm and provide a good grip.

– Wear shoes that give good stability – and warmth.

– Always use a strong Line-of-Power® position.

– Use a good Smart Hands® grip.

– Keep the loaded shovel in the green zone as much as possible. Avoid long reaches.

– Use Mental Superglue® by gluing your elbows to your side or leveraging your arm against a leg when lifting or pushing the shovel into the snow.

– Take smaller scoops.

– Step in the direction you are throwing snow. Avoid stationary feet and a twisting trunk.

– Take frequent breaks to catch your breath and let your body recover.

– Consider “Saving Yourself” by hiring the job out or delegating it to your kid.

If your group is going through, or familiar with, our advanced modules (Advancing Strength & Control, or Balance) you might include:

– When moving, employ the Front Foot Drive®

– Make the most of using BreathPower®

– Use the “Swoop” and the “Sit to Stand” techniques to generate more power and reduce stresses.

As a footnote to the snow shoveling task, not many statistics are available about the relationship of snow shoveling and heart attacks. Most of us suspect that there is some correlation between the two.

We did run across this from the researchers at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. In reviewing the records of 500 patients who went to Kingston General Hospital with heart problems over a two-winter period they found that 35 (7 percent) started experiencing heart symptoms while shoveling snow.

New England Journal of Medicine research estimates that out of shape people increase their risk of heart attack from snow shoveling by 100-fold over those who are regular exercisers.

But overall, applying the best MoveSMART® strategies and techniques can help you stay safer and make all activities – including snow shoveling and whatever else you do this Winter.

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