« CDC: Diabetes on the rise | Main | More Marylanders seek help to kick the smoking habit »

January 27, 2011

How to dig out from the snow -- safely

Still digging out from last night's nasty storm? We are too. My husband recently came in complaining that the storm dumped plenty of that wet, heavy kind of snow that makes shoveling safely extra challenging.

With that in mind, here are some good tips from the American Physical Therapy Association that came in handy during last February's Snowpocalypse.

·         Lift smaller loads of snow, bend your knees and lift with your legs rather than with your back.

·         Use a shovel with a handle that lets you keep your back straight while lifting. A short handle will cause you to bend more to lift the load. A long one makes the load heavier.

·         Avoid twisting as much as possible. The spine can't tolerate twisting as well as it can other movements.

·         Step in the direction that you're throwing snow to prevent low back twisting. This will help avoid the “next-day back fatigue."

·         Take breaks. Stand up straight and walk around every so often. Standing backbends help reverse all that forward bending that occurs while shoveling. To do this, stand straight and tall, place your hands toward the back of your hips and bend backward slightly for a few seconds.

Also, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has more tips on preventing shoveling injuries.

Baltimore Sun photo by Barbara Haddock Taylor

Posted by Kelly Brewington at 8:43 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: General Health


Being a veteran shoveler of a few winters, I am proactive when it comes to post shoveling. Don't wait for aches and pains to set in. If possible, spend some time with a heating pad or microwaved rice bag. It's time well spent over the long haul.

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

About Picture of Health
Meredith CohnMeredith Cohn has been a reporter since 1991, covering everything from politics and airlines to the environment and medicine. A runner since junior high and a particular eater for almost as long, she tries to keep up on health and fitness trends. Her aim is to bring you the latest news and information from the local and national medical and wellness communities.

Andrea K. WalkerAndrea K. Walker knows it’s weird to some people, but she has a fascination with fitness, diseases, medicine and other health-related topics. She subscribes to a variety of health and fitness magazines and becomes easily engrossed in the latest research in health and science. An exercise fanatic, she’s probably tried just about every fitness activity there is. Her favorites are running, yoga and kickboxing. So it is probably fitting that she has been assigned to cover the business of healthcare and to become a regular contributor to this blog. Andrea has been at The Sun for nearly 10 years, covering manufacturing, retail , airlines and small and minority business. She looks forward to telling readers about the latest health news.

Most Recent Comments
Baltimore Sun coverage
  • Health & Wellness newsletter
Your weekly dose of health news, tips and events for Maryland
See a sample | Sign up

Sign up for FREE local news alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for local news text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
Charm City Current
Stay connected