Gyms and Fitness Clubs

Take Precautions When Shoveling A Lot of Snow

Over the last week, the east coast of the United States has been pummeled with multiple blizzards, dropping several feet of snow on cities like Philadelphia and Washington DC, also shutting down the Federal Government for a time. While this sort of thing wouldn't make me think of fitness, usually, an article in BusinessWeek entitled, "Fitness a Factor in Snow Shoveling Injuries" made me think differently.

According to the article, you can suffer serious injuries while shoveling a lot of snow if you don't take precautions. According to Dr. Susan Wainwright, vice chair of the physical therapy department at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, "If you're not a regular exerciser or you're in poor physical shape, your body won't be prepared for the stress of shoveling snow and you increase your chances of sustaining muscle pulls, back injuries and strains. Snow shoveling can also strain the heart and cause potentially life-threatening injuries, such as a heart attack."

Dr. Wainwright offers several tips on how to prepare for serious snow shoveling, which include doing a full warm-up, such as jogging in place and stretching; make sure your snow shovel is ergonomically correct snow shovel -- which I honestly didn't even know existed -- and remember the proper snow shoveling technique. These include pushing the snow instead of trying to lift it, not overloading the shovel and never lifting with your back. Take a break every fifteen minute to avoid stress, and stand up straight and walk around to move the muscles around a bit. Finally, make sure you stay hydrated.

These tips should help you avoid serious injury during shoveling lots of snow. This is just one more example of how constant fitness is a betterment to most situations, as you'll be able to handle strenuous activities such as snow shoveling easier than you would if you were out of shape.