As these brutal winter months come into full swing we have more and more to worry about in regards to the weather. While a snowy day can be fun and beautiful it can also lead to injury in more ways than one. According to WebMD, shoveling snow sends more than 11,000 people to the hospital every year! There are so many different components that go into this activity that any little thing can really hurt you. But, have no fear, there are some tips you can practice to minimize your risk of injury.

Just like if you were going to the gym or going for a run, shoveling is an extremely strenuous activity and there must be some preparation that occurs before you begin. Your muscles are at an added risk of injury because of the cold weather so it is pertinent the you warm up your body properly. Doing some light stretches and some sort of full body exercise like jumping jacks or just a simple brisk walk can wake up your muscles.

Once you feel loose enough and you are ready to start shoveling, it is so important to think while you are shoveling. There is a wrong way and a right way. If at all possible, you should try to push the snow to the targeted direction instead of lifting it. If you have to lift you should remember to keep your posture. Just like if you were lifting a box or weights at the gym, you should be lifting with your knees and keeping your back straight to avoid back pain or injury. You should try and keep the loads of snow as light as possible as to not strain yourself. When you are dumping the snow you should always walk to deposit it instead of reaching or throwing it. Movements like this where you are quickly turning your back are very dangerous. If you are going to turn, you should turn with your whole body. Also when holding the shovel, you should keep the heaviest part as close to your upper body as possible. Most importantly, don’t feel bad about taking a break! If you feel tired or sore, you should stop, rest and then go back to it at a later time. Finishing the driveway is not worth the physical pain you would be in for weeks if you injured yourself.

Some of these tips might seem self-explanatory but still thousands of people are injured every year. If you practice these during this winter season, you have a better chance of having a happier and healthier winter!