The blizzard of 2015, it was a big one. I gotta say those meteorologists nailed it for the most part for our area about 2 feet on the dot. And with this 2 feet of snow it was time to bust out the shovels and hop to it! (I miss having a snow blower)
With all of this shoveling it can put a tremendous strain on the body. According to the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, there are 11,500 emergency department visits related to snow shoveling each year, most of them being in the lower back. Many people are worried about heart attacks, but heart related injuries are only around 7 percent of all of this. If you have a heart condition pay some neighborhood kids or flag down an independent plow to clean up your driveway for a couple bucks and save yourself a trip to the ER.
How does this all apply to Dynamic Stretching? Well I’m so glad you asked!
Dynamic Stretching is a warmup activity that stimulates the muscles for use, example: shoveling. All of my clients will do some kind of dynamic stretching or an active warm up, which is full of moving around and getting the blood flowing.
My top 4 picks to help protect your back from shoveling this year are listed below and I recommend doing them in this order.
#1 Knee hugs
This stretch is to be done by taking a step forward and with the opposite leg raise the knee after each step. With your hands pull and grab your knee and pull it towards your torso. If done correctly so you should be feeling a stretch in your hip and glutes. Try it for 10 reps each side.
#2 Leg swings
This dynamic stretch is done by grabbing onto a wall with one hand holding yourself steady and with the opposing leg moving it forwards and backwards. Take this one slowly at first, and gradually add to the range of motion the more comfortable that it feels. Don’t go all out on the first swing and injure yourself before you even start shoveling. After you go forwards and backwards try facing towards the wall, still grabbing onto it, and try swinging your leg side to side. Same concept applies, take it slow and do it for 10 reps for each leg forwards and backwards and 10 reps side to side then switch legs.
#3 Spider-man Stretch
For this next stretch (one of my favs) you are going to start off in pushup position. While you are down there you are going to bring your foot up next to your hand bending your hip and knee in the process. Try to keep your foot flat on the floor, holding this stretch for 2-3 seconds before switching to the other side. Go ahead and rinse and repeat the motion at least five times for each side.
#4 Lunge with a twist
This dynamic stretch is straight forward, you are going to lunge forward alternating with each leg. While you are doing this motion each knee should be right around a 90 degree angle. When you are down there with both knees at 90 degree angle you will want to twist your torso towards the front knee. This is great for activating and warming up the legs, glutes, and hips, while the twist stretches out the upper and middle back.
Well that’s it folks, the four best Dynamic Stretches to help prevent injuries (especially while shoveling). You might say “Bill I could have used this yesterday while shoveling out.” Sorry, I was enjoying hot chocolate with those little marshmallows in it. Oh and don’t worry there is a chance of more snow this Thursday night leading into Friday for New England according to weather.com
So don’t worry, you will have a good chance of trying out all of these Dynamic Stretches soon! wink emoticon