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Q: How can I avoid bad injuries when shoveling snow?

Posted February 13, 2013 in Advice Column, Norwalk

A: It is the time of year where we see the pretty white falling snowflakes and know that shoveling is inevitable. The white fluffy stuff can be deceiving, as the density of the snow can be very heavy. Here are some simple tips to help reduce injury if you are the one with the task of snow removal.

• A shovel with a curved handle or an adjustable handle length will minimize painful bending.

• Bending slightly at your knees and providing a minimal arch to your back while keeping the shovel blade on the ground will help do decrease the risk of injury.

• A small, lightweight plastic blade helps reduce the amount of weight that you are moving.

• Warm up your muscles thoroughly. Cold, tight muscles are more prone to injury than warmed up, flexible muscles. Warm up 5 to 10 minutes before shoveling for the maximum results. Examples may be a brisk walk, marching in place or another full-body activity. Also, stretching the big muscles such as your hamstrings or low back with limber you up.

• Take time to come in and take a break if you have a large area to shovel. Paying attention to the outdoor temperatures and preventing over exertion will assist you in pacing yourself to avoid injury.

• Hire the task out. Find a neighborhood kid looking for extra cash or locate a professional company to provide this service.

Information provided by Tami Dickeson, Norwalk Nursing and Rehab, 921 Sunset Drive, Norwalk, 515-981-0604.

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