A: Get a good shovel. Look for a lighter-weight shovel that suits your size. A smaller shovel will allow you to scoop up less snow and avoid getting hurt. Shovels with a bend in them are better for your lower back.
• Pace yourself. Start shoveling soon after newly-fallen snow since it is lighter than wet, heavily packed snow, and take small breaks. Start out slowly to avoid putting too much stress on your heart all at once.
• Push, rather than lift. When you can, try pushing the snow away from you, rather than lifting it, to avoid straining or twisting your back. Look for a shovel with a blade that makes it easier to push snow.
• Use your legs. If you must lift snow, fill your shovel no more than half full. Bend your knees and lift with your legs, rather than your back. Keep your back straight. Avoid throwing snow over your shoulder or to the side, which causes your back to twist and can injure your shoulders.
• Watch for ice. Look out for ice under the snow or on the ground that can cause you to slip and fall. Black ice, which looks like water but is actually thin ice, can be especially dangerous.
• Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to help you.
• Listen to your body. If you feel tightness in your chest or have any pain, stop right away and call your doctor. If you’re sore after shoveling, take a hot bath or get a massage. If you still don’t feel well, see your doctor.
Finally, a good fitness program that builds strength and endurance can make shoveling snow a lot easier for you.
Information provided by Williamson Chiropractic, 206 S. Main St., 986-9189.