In 2007, snow shovelling and snow blowing lead to 118,000 trips to the ER, medical clinics or physiotherapy offices. Given that winter is once again upon us, a basic review of snow shovelling technique is called for.

If you have a heart condition consider that heavy snow shovelling may not be within the spectrum of activity you should be participating in. Further, cold air stresses by the cardiopulmonary system reducing the body’s ability to deal with the physical activity.

If you are not a 22-year-old athlete and you need to dig your car out after a storm first thing in the morning, warm up first. You are about to engage in a moderate effort, first thing in the morning, in an irregular environment. You wouldn’t go running in the winter cold without a warm up, don’t go shovelling without one either.

Use a shovel that is appropriate for your height, strength and the job. Many small women use long, large plastic shovels when they should be using small metal shovels.

When you are lifting snow, lift with your legs, like a squat. If you need to turn, pivot of one foot rather than twisting the spine. This number could easily be cut in half with a few simple precautions.