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Save your Back: Shovel like a Boss

Shoveling snow is a great workout, if you do it correctly. The combination of squats and lifts can raise your heart rate and get your blood pumping. But avoiding back injuries while shoveling snow is crucial, as the combination of heavy lifting and cold weather can strain your muscles and spine.

Here are some tips to help you shovel snow safely:

1. Warm-up:

- Just like any physical activity, warm up your body before shoveling. Do some light stretching exercises to prepare your muscles for the task ahead.

2. Choose the right shovel:

- Use an ergonomic shovel with a curved handle to reduce the amount of bending required.

- Pick a lightweight shovel made of plastic or aluminum, as it will be easier on your back.

3. Proper technique:

- Bend at your hips and knees, not your back, to lift the snow. Keep your back straight and push your hips back as you bend your knees.

- Use your legs and core muscles to lift, rather than relying on your back. This helps distribute the load more evenly.

4. Pace yourself:

- Take breaks frequently, especially if you're dealing with a large amount of snow. Overexertion can lead to fatigue and increase the risk of injury.

5. Push, don't lift:

- Whenever possible, push the snow rather than lifting it. Pushing is less strenuous on your back muscles.

6. Keep a manageable load:

- Don't overload the shovel with too much snow. Smaller loads are easier to lift and less likely to strain your back.

7. Stay hydrated:

- Even in cold weather, it's essential to stay hydrated. Dehydration can make your muscles more prone to injury.

8. Dress appropriately:

- Wear layers to stay warm, and make sure to protect your extremities from the cold. Cold muscles are more susceptible to strains.

9. Proper footwear:

- Wear shoes with good traction to prevent slipping on icy surfaces. This will help you maintain stability while shoveling.

10. Listen to your body:

- If you feel any pain or discomfort, stop shoveling immediately. Pay attention to your body's signals and take breaks as needed.

11. Consider using de-icing products:

- Applying de-icing materials, like salt or sand, to the snow can make shoveling easier by reducing the amount of snow you need to move.

12. Ask for help:

- If you have back issues, heart issues, are a fall risk, or have any other major medical issues, get help. Don't try to do it alone. Shoveling snow is strenuous, and can be unsafe for certain individuals.

Bottom Line: You can make tasks like managing your own property part of your workout routine and active lifestyle. Shoveling snow is a powerful combination of squats and weight lifting that can strengthen your core and your heart. Just make sure to do it safely!

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