- Dr. Gregory Giasson DC, MSACN, MS
Here is a set of basic stretches you should do before and after shoveling. They will warm-up your muscles and hopefully reduce occurrence of injuries. If you have problems completing these exercises consult with your doctor before trying to shovel.
Seated Lumbar Flexion:
Sit in a chair with your knees apart. Bend forward towards the floor. You should feel a gentle stretch in your low back. Hold this position for 10 seconds and return to a seated position. Repeat this 3-5 times.
Kneeling on one knee, lunge forward on the other knee. Make sure that you are not twisting and keep your arms above your head or behind your back. Tighten your abs (stomach muscles) and glutes (butt muscles) to feel an increase in the stretch. Hold this position for 10 seconds and return to a neutral position. Repeat this 3-5 times on each leg.
Lay down on the floor on your back and bring one leg up trying to make a 90 degree angle at your hips. Grab behind the knee or use a towel behind the knee/heel to hold this position for 10 seconds. You should feel a good stretch behind the thighs. Repeat this 3-5 times on each leg.
Lumbar Rotation Stretch:
While lying on your back, put your arms out to your sides and bring the left knee up towards your chest and right arm. You should feel a stretch in your low back and hip area. Hold this position for 10 seconds and return to a seated position. Repeat this 3-5 times on each leg.
Towel or Broom Stretch:
Using a towel or broom reach above your head and dangle it behind your back. With the other hand reach down and behind your back to grab the towel or broom. With your top hand gently pull up to help stretch your lower arm further up your back. Then with the bottom hand pull down to bring the top arm further down the back. Make sure that the palm of your top hand faces forward and the palm of your lower hand faces backward. Hold this position for 10 seconds and return to a neutral position. Repeat this 3-5 times with each arm.
Feeling mild discomfort during these motions is okay, but you should never feel pain or have the discomfort linger. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.