That time of year is approaching again for almost all Canadians.  Along with the decreasing temperatures come warming up vehicles, scraping windows, and eventually clearing snow.  We’d like to discuss some good snow shoveling techniques that you can use to prevent any nasty injuries.  Think about these tips whenever the snow decides to stay for good!

Three snow shovelling techniques so you can stay safe and fit all winter

  1. Push, don’t throw the snow-Push the snow to tone side and avoid throwing it. If you must throw the snow, avoid twisting and turning to do so. Position yourself to throw straight at the snow pile, with hip and shoulders in line
  2. Bend your knees-Use your knee, leg and arm muscles together to do the pushing and lifting while keeping your back straight.
  3. Watch for ice-Be careful on icy walkways and slippery surfaces. Intermittent thaws and sub freezing can lead to ice building up underfoot, resulting in nasty slips and falls.  It is a good idea to throw down some salt or sand to ensure that you have good footing.

Before you attempt to tackle any snow removal:

  • Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is just as big an issue in the winter months as it is in the summer
  • Dress in several layers so that you can remove a layer as you get warm
  • Wear proper footwear. Shoes and boots with solid treads on the soles can help to minimize the risk of slips and falls.
  • Pick the right shovel. Use a lightweight non-stick, push style shovel. A smaller blade will put less strain on the body since you will be lifting less snow with each pass. It is a good idea to get a shovel with a curved handle as well to prevent fatigue and injury.  Another great tip is to spray the blade with a silicone-based lubricant so that the snow slides off the blade!
  • Warm up for 5-10 minutes before beginning any snow removal to get the joints moving and increase blood circulation. A brisk walk will do it.

Be Safe on the Ice-Walk like a Penguin

In addition to keeping injury free while clearing snow, we thought we would remind everyone how to avoid slips and falls on the ice.  Here in the southern part of Ontario this is a major issue with the freezing and melting that goes on during the winter season.  One in three Canadians over 65 years old fall every year and at times this can have serious consequences such as pelvic, hip, or wrist fractures.

You have likely heard the song walk like an Egyptian however in the winter time when there is snow and ice on the ground, it is important to walk like a penguin. The penguin waddle helps to keep a safer centre of gravity.  Short steps also keep you more balanced and helps to prevent falls.  You can also extend your arms out from your sides to increase your centre of gravity.  Don’t keep your hands in your pockets because if you do slip, you want to make sure your ands can protect you.  Walking slowly with short strides and landing flat footed will help to keep you safe this winter.  Just remember to walk like a penguin!

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