With 2020/21 dumping snow Niseko Chiropractic has been busy treating many injuries that did not occur on the ski slopes. Snow shovelling has to be up there somewhere high if not top of the list.
Sure you can probably use a shovel already.
Most of us would claim not to need a lesson on how to shovel snow. But like many everyday things such as ridding a bike or a few tips from people that have given it some more thought can be very helpful and can be make a big difference to how you feel at the end of it and also help your efficiency.
Tip number one is if you don’t have to lift the snow then don’t.
Have a look at the elderly residents of Niseko town that have mastered the art of not shovelling but rather just pushing it out of the way. When I first moved to Niseko I was amazed at how they would flock out of their houses within hours after a heavy or even during a heavy snowfall. There is method in the this approach as snow is so much easier to move when it is still powder snow and can be cast aside with the greatest of ease.
If you do find yourself needing to shovel then there a few things to consider.
Ok so what works ?
You want to minimise any twisting and flexion forces on the spine and ensure that our strongest muscles ( our legs ) are doing most of the work whilst our more vulnerable structures (our shoulders and spinal discs ) are protected.
You also want to avoid coupled motion.
What do I mean by that ?
Well if you need to flex your spine then flex it. If you need to rotate the spine then we can do that too. But what is more likely to cause injury is to flex and rotate at the same time.
The way to correctly shovel the snow is use your legs to lift a full shovel of snow, come completely upright and then twist to through the snow clear whilst you keep your hips square with your spine. Much like a good boxer throughs a hook with their pelvis staying connected to their spine, that’s how you should shovel snow.
Other tips worth sharing is never shovel injured and if try and split the activity into shorter bursts rather than doing it all non stop.
Best 0f luck with your Niseko shoveling and hope the video below also sheds some light on some of the points we have discussed. If you do need an english speaking Chiropractor in Niseko we would be very happy to help.