With our recent winter storm gifting us with 12 to 16 inches of beautiful snow a lot of us have been talking about it. How deep it was, where it was and how much there was to move!!!
So, probably like you, my workout the last couple of days has been the old fashioned kind – shoveling snow!!! And, there’s nothing like a lot of wet heavy snow on a 120 foot driveway to have me eating some humble pie regarding my strength and endurance. However, I lived through the three hour workout without issue and I have my Egoscue menus to thank for it! How did you do? Hopefully you won’t have to use these until next season, but I wanted to share some pointers:
As a warm-up before I started shoveling, I did my menu of Egoscue e-cises which got me ready in two ways: 1) it lined me up and got me equal on both sides. Both left and right sides of me were working and made sure my legs and hips were ready to work and not my back! 2) it warms up the big and little shoulder, leg and hip muscles that will be doing the major work!
If you don’t have an Egoscue menu yet, then try these simple things – swing your arms around in all kinds of ways especially imitating what you’ll be doing with your snow shovel. After that, try an “airbench” for a minute or two – you may know it as a “wall sit”. (Your back – low back especially– is against the wall, legs bent as if you were sitting in an imaginary chair, knees over your heels, equal weight in both heels) Go back and forth between those two things a couple of times before you begin shoveling.
While shoveling, keep your back as flat and straight as you can, which will make you bend your knees and use your legs and arms to toss the snow, not your back. Make sure you move your feet up close to the shovel or the shovel back to you before lifting to toss. Take lots of little mini breaks – this is hard work so be nice to yourself and stop and lean on your shovel to admire how far you’ve come!!
When you are done for the day, do another airbench then spend about 15 minutes in “static back” (which is lying on your back on the floor with your lower legs over the seat of a chair with your butt right up to the legs of the chair and your arms out to your sides, palms up). Relax. You’ll feel great afterwards!
Give yourself some kudos for a job well done!