When it comes to snow shoveling, health experts warn that back injuries are more common than you think and can quickly turn into something serious. If you'd like to save yourself from trips to the hospital, especially when much of Istanbul and Turkey is grappling with snow, the key is to use the proper technique and channel the No. 1 weight-lifting principle: lift with your legs.
A snowball may be light, but a pile of snow scooped up on a shovel can be pretty heavy and improper technique can mean pulled muscles and hurting your back, leaving you in pain for days. So, how should you go about it?
Simply shoving snow aside rather than lifting it for deposit elsewhere won't strain your back, points out the German Society for Orthopaedics and Trauma (DGOU). But if you must lift the white stuff, use your whole body and not just your upper body and back, it says.
Keep your back as straight as possible and push your chest out, pointing forward. Bend your knees and lift with your leg muscles. Bend at the hips not at the waist, as this will put unnecessary strain on your lower back muscles. Make sure you go slow, taking light loads and keeping the scoops small.
Snow shoveling is a little like sport, so ideally you should warm up your muscles before starting. Dress warmly to protect your back from the cold. Slip-resistant, sturdy footwear and a lightweight, ergonomically shaped show shovel will also make your work safer and easier. Your spine and joints will thank you, the DGOU says. You should also keep the shovel close to your body.
It adds that you shouldn't twist your body, make jerky movements or lift heavy loads of snow, which can cause muscle pulls, strains or other types of muscle injuries as well as locked vertebrae and lower back pain.
And if that still seems like too much hassle, you can always invest in a snowblower, but even that won't work if you are snowed in heavily.
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