Active Healing Centre

Let It Snow


After a long wait, the snow has finally arrived in the GTA and I’m already tired of it. Skiers (downhill or cross-country) may be in heaven, but for the rest of us …

The light dusting we had for Christmas was pleasant to see, but finding 4-6 inches of snow when I woke up wasn’t. After doing some pre-shovelling stretches, I managed to finish in under 30-minutes. It was a workout.

Here are some shovelling stretches to make the rest of winter less painful:

Warm-up your muscles. Shovelling can be a vigorous activity. Before you begin this physical workout, warm-up your muscles for 10 minutes with light exercise.

Pace yourself. Snow shovelling and snow blowing are aerobic activities. Take frequent breaks and prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids. If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, or other signs of a heart attack, stop the activity and seek emergency care.

Proper equipment. Use a shovel that is comfortable for your height and strength. Do not use a shovel that is too heavy or too long for you. Space your hands on the tool grip to increase your leverage.

Proper lifting. Try to push the snow instead of lifting it. If you must lift, do it properly. Squat with your legs apart, knees bent, and back straight. Lift with your legs. Do not bend at the waist. Scoop small amounts of snow into the shovel and walk to where you want to dump it. Holding a shovelful of snow with your arms outstretched puts too much weight on your spine. Never remove deep snow all at once. Do it in pieces.

Safe technique. Do not throw the snow over your shoulder or to the side. This requires a twisting motion that stresses your back.

Or just hire someone else to do the work.


See your doctor if the pain persists or doesn’t go away within a day or two.
See your therapist if treatment is recommended.