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Are you ready for a high-intensity workout? Because that's what snow shovelling is.

Shoveling snowThere is a reason why this time of year we see stories in the media about the potential health risks of snow shovelling – it is an intense form of exercise.

Take our recent snowfall. Shovelling snow is equivalent to a hard-core gym workout with either high-volume weight training or high-intensity cardio. Especially if the plow went by and left that big pile at the end of your driveway.

Here’s how to avoid becoming a statistic…don’t overtax your cardiovascular system or your spine:
  • Pick the right shovel: An ergonomic shovel with a curved handle and an adjustable handle length can minimize how much bending you need to do and ease the strain on both your knees and lower back.
  • Warm up … thoroughly: Just like you would at the gym, with some dynamic stretching, jumping jacks – any of those fun things that get the blood pumping. Because cold, stiff muscles are much more prone to injury.
  • Hydrate: It’s just as important in the winter as it is in the summer. Well-hydrated muscles are also less prone to injury.
  • Dress properly: Wear good boots and dress in layers so you can strip down as the exertion makes you sweaty.
  • Listen to your body: If you are gasping, having chest pains, seeing stars, or have a black haze encroaching on your vision, stop. If the symptoms persist or get worse, call 911. These are not the only warning signs to watch for – refer to the Heart and Stroke Foundation for more on heart attack symptoms.
  • Stretch again: Just like at the gym, don’t leave worn muscles to tighten up into knots – do some post-workout stretching.
  • And do go to the gym: Nothing prepares you better for these challenging chores around the house than hitting the gym on a regular basis. Regular exercise is what keeps us capable of handling all that life dishes out without ending up bedridden in pain, or worse, at the ER.

If you have any questions about the health or alignment of your spine or that of your loved ones, Dr. Erin McLaughlin and Dr. Pierre Paradis are here to help. If you live or work in Kanata and the surrounding area, contact us today or give us a call at (613) 831-9665.


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