Welcome to Readers’ Workouts, the weekly event where book lovers share workout stories, goals, successes, and challenges.
How to Shovel Snow without Injury
by Joy Weese Moll (who is not a doctor, PT, or nurse — just a librarian with tricky knees and a bad lower back)
Start weeks in advance with a strength-training program (at least twice a week) that includes squats and lunges. I didn’t realize what it means to “lift with your legs” until I was strong enough – it means to do the exact same well-formed squat or lunge that you do while exercising.
Be happy! Shoveling is the closest thing most adults get to playing in the snow so summon the energy of making snow angels and sledding.
Warm-up by walking around to assess the situation and doing an easy area first where it’s simply pushing the snow. Use a shovel with a long enough handle that you’re not bending over to push snow.
The safest sequence for depositing a full shovel of snow is to squat or lunge, lift with your legs, and turn the shovel to dump.
Avoid any awkward movements of the arms while lifting. Arm movements happen when feet are firmly planted either in a squat or lunge or when fully risen.
Avoid tossing the snow from the shovel by a rapid forward movement of the arms – that’s a good way to pull a back muscle. Turn the shovel and tap the handle to get the snow to release from the side.
Stretch the hamstring muscles during your cool-down.
I shoveled snow twice in the last week for exercise What are you doing for exercise in February?