By Rick Discipio
Over 100 inches of snow fell in the Boston area this past winter, and tons of the heavy, wet stuff had to be shoveled out of driveways and walkways — not just a pain in the neck, but a potential pain in many other parts of the body as well.
Nationwide, an average of 11,500 snow shoveling injuries occur annually, including damage to muscles, ligaments, tendons and other soft tissues. Lower back injuries are the most common.
So what can you do to avoid injury in winters to come if, as some predict, heavy snow becomes more common? To handle the stresses that snow-shoveling places on the body, you need a year-round exercise program. Consult with your doctor before undertaking any exercise program, of course, but here are my starter suggestions:
Begin with a basic total-body strength training program two or three times a week. Improving your strength will make daily routines (such as shoveling) less taxing and help with injury prevention. Strength training is any type of resistance training that includes free-weights, tubing or strength machines. The focus should be on strengthening the legs, hips, shoulders, abs, and lower back.
Basic strength training routine: Continue reading