The winter started off calm but hit us hard when Jonas came. Hopefully there won’t be too many more snow storms this year, but we still have at least a month to go. Snow storms mean snow shoveling and with that possible strains, shoulder dislocations, and other injuries. NEWS FLASH – Our society is mainly sedentary. Our bodies adapt to lifestyles by changing internally to become more efficient at staying in the positions we are in most. This is a great thing if you are active, your body will change to adapt to that lifestyle. But if you are mainly sedentary, your body will adapt to that as well – NOT GOOD. When we are inactive, we become stiff and our ability to recuperate after dealing with stress will be slowed as well. One of the benefits of moving consistently is that the body will learn to regenerate faster, which translates into faster healing times (one reason to exercise before joint surgeries). Why is this important when dealing with snow? Well, if you fall into the sedentary category, your body is not used to that much activity and shoveling is an activity. Much like it would be unwise to not warm up before exercise, you should not go out shoveling without warming up either! Be safe when shoveling this winter and follow these simple tips: Warm Up Before Shoveling Neck Stretch 2-3×30 seconds in each direction Gently tilt your ear down towards your shoulder and apply pressure with your hand. Hold and repeat on the other side. Supine (laying down) Piriformis Stretch 2-3×30 seconds each side Body Weight Squats 2-3×12-15 Keep in mind this is not a work out, it is to just prep the body. You do not have to struggle through the squats, just get the body warm. Keep them easy and quick. Arm Circles 2-3×15 in each direction Make sure to do both directions and keep the circles small. If you have a treadmill or elliptical in our house, that is also great to get blood flowing. The idea is to not go out without warming up your body first. Do You Have An Injury From Shoveling? Schedule an Appointment Today! If you have any questions, or want a consultation with a professional, feel free to call, or schedule an appointment online at any of our Bergen County or Passaic County offices in New Jersey. Choose from Glen Rock, Franklin Lakes, Fair Lawn, Ho-ho-kus/Ridgewood, and/or Clifton – we make it possible for you to visit any of our offices at your convenience. Go outside with a plan Plan out the way you clean. Set it up so that you can avoid twisting and make sure to know which way the wind is blowing. When possible use a snow blower, work smarter not harder. Lift Light Loads If you are not used to lifting a lot, don’t take huge shovel fulls of snow. It will always take longer if you are injured than if just pace yourself from the beginning. Lift Correctly Stand with a staggered stance (one foot in front of the other), keep your back straight and bend the knees. Try to switch the leading side from time to time. Stay safe out there in the snow!