Snow day safety tips: stretch + recipe

Snow day safety tips: stretch + recipe

Believe it or not we posted this note on our TaoMassage facebook page back in the blizzard fo 2010…so it’s time to post it again now that our groovy blog is up and running again! It now applies for Winter Storm Juno 2015!

Certainly follow your local authorities safety guidelines; in addition:

•     Minimize travel

•     Elevate essential items to protect from flooding.

But we are talking about safety guidelines for your one and only body!
This is a quick guide about how to avoid injury and pace yourself for snow shoveling…

SHOVELING can be good exercise, but if you haven’t exercised all year and this this is going o fulfill your “weekend warrior”…consider a proper WARM UP!

Shoveling is compared to brisk walking or light singles tennis. But, it is also known to be a little HAZARDOUS to your health if you are not used to EXERCISE, you chance of heart attack can increase as can the chance of straining something.

According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission:

  • In 2007, more than 118,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms, doctors’ offices, clinics and other medical settings for injuries that happened while shoveling or removing ice and snow manually.

Before you go out remember to warm-up for about 10 minutes.  Here is a suggested warm-up:

  • JOG in place
  • Butt KICKS (that is bend your knee and have your heel “kick your butt”)
  • High knees (bring knees up)
  • SWING leg forward and back (hold onto something or stabilization if necessary)
  • Swing arms in circles and reverse (include shoulder and neck rolls)
  • With your arms straight out bend at the waist with flat back (repeat 10 times, like touching the floor several times)
  • TWIST your torso gently back and forth

After you have warmed up, here are some shoveling tips:

  • PACING: Pace yourself. Snow shoveling is an aerobic activity. Take frequent breaks and prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids. If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath or other signs of a heart attack, stop shoveling and seek emergency care.
  • PROPER SHOVEL: Use a shovel that is comfortable for your height and strength. Do not use a shovel that is too heavy or too long for you. Space your hands on the tool grip to increase your leverage.
  • Try to PUSH the snow instead of lifting it. If you must lift, do it properly. Squat with your legs apart, knees bent, and back straight. Lift with your legs. Do not bend at the waist. Scoop small amounts of snow into the shovel and walk to where you want to dump it. Holding a shovelful of snow with your arms outstretched puts too much weight on your spine. Never remove deep snow all at once. Do it in pieces.
  • DO NOT THROW the snow over your shoulder or to the side. This requires a twisting motion that stresses your back.
  • Ergonomics experts suggest a 12-15 shovel per minute pace.
  • When you are done remember to STRETCH.  Slowly stretch your legs (hamstrings, quads, butt and hips) stretch your lower and  back, shoulders and neck.
  • HYDRATE!!!!!! Take little water breaks and HYDRATE! oh heck…just eat the snow while you are in it!!

Be safe and have fun in the snow.  Spending time stretching when you are done will help alleviate stiffness the next day.

Hold stretches for 10-30 seconds and try to contract the opposite muscle you are stretching.

AFTER shoveling…
How about a hot drink, tea, cocoa, a nice hot shower or tub soak loaded with Epsom salts to replenish electrolytes exhausted while shoveling. HYDRATE some more!

Here is a visual stretch guide.
You may also want to consider this list for emergency prepardeness.
And now for the snow day recipe aka Snow Ice Cream