I think it is safe to say that this winter has been one of the easiest in terms of snow fall in recent years. However, it is inevitable that we are sure to get blasted with at least a few storms before the season changes. When those storms do hit all of the trainers take a collective deep breath. We know that there are going to be a ton of last minute cancellations due to a few clients getting stuck in their driveways (Yes I am talking about you Kathy and Jill) and clients straining their backs. It is for this reason I have come up with 4 rules to follow to stay safe when snow flies.
1) Stretch. You know all of the things that you trainer asks you to do before your session begins? Yea, I'm talking about getting your heart rate up and preparing your muscles for a workout with some dynamic stretching. I want you to treat the snow shoveling just like you would one of your workout sessions. Do some body weight squats, stretch you quads and hamstrings, activate your shoulders with some front raises and do a few trunk twists. Do Not. Let me say that again. DO Not start shoveling before you activate your muscles.
2) Keep your Spine Safe. There are three things that you can do to keep you spine safe while you lift each shovelful of snow. 1- Lift with your legs. Keep the sound of your trainer's voice in the back of your mind while you lift. Back flat, Butt back, and chest up. 2- Keep the shovel close to your body. The further away you reach the more you are asking you lower back muscles to work. 3- Do not twist you upper body to toss the snow with your feet flat on the ground. Think about a golf swing or a baseball swing. Let the heal of the foot away from the twist come up as you turn.
3) Stay Hydrated. You would be amazed at how much fluid you will lose in just 30min of shoveling. Keep a bottle of water on top of the car or on the front stairs and get a sip every few minutes.
4) Dress in Layers. It may be cold out but once you start moving you core temp will rise quickly. Avoid getting drenched with sweat by stripping a layer or two as you go.