With the first really heavy snow storm in the Toronto area, there is an upside to all the inconveniences that this brings to our daily routines: there is a degree of quiet and solitude that descends. Perhaps we are moving into hibernation mode. Yesterday after driving the length of the city while the storm was beginning, increasing in intensity and nearly white-out conditions, I was very happy to get home, close the door, deal with some paperwork, prepare a light meal, read a book and have an early night.
Now that morning has arrived and the storm has dissipated for now, there is also a new reality to deal with: what to do with the 25cm of snow that has descended? While listening to the radio, there was a message from Sunnybrook Hospital. I echo those thoughts with my own personal observations.
Before going out with a snow shovel, take a few precautions especially if you have not been very active of recent while. Take the time to gently stretch your muscles, ( in other words, warm them up - it softens the tissue and makes them more pliable) especially of the upper chest. Dress warmly for the job. Don’t be aggressive with the task at hand: you are dealing with nature and natural phenomena and nature will always win in the end. Digging in and lifting snow is not a very ergonomically viable exercise and one that puts a greater strain on the torso and upper back. If possible push the snow to relocate it. Gently does it.
I’m also a fan of delegation wherever possible. If you have teenage children, now is the time to remind them that their entry to the world was not just to further the human species: that one of the many considerations was as a source of labour! By the way, I was not very successful in this argument with my son.
If you do find that you have an injury resulting from snow removal exercises - a sudden twinge in the lower back, for example, there is probably a little bit of inflammation or heat in the tissue so, pardon the pun, ice it rather than use heat sources or a hot bath. That sudden pain can get you to tighten up in other parts of the body so you might also consider going for massage therapy to help return the muscles from a state of tension to one of relaxation.
Enough time procrastinating and writing about snow removal. Time to follow my own advice and get behind that snow shovel for what awaits me outside my front door.