I have lived in Massachusetts since a very young age (which is a whole bunch of years at this point) and I can honestly say I have NEVER seen a stretch of snow like this! The term Snowmageddon is starting to seem less like a cute hyperbole and more like a frightening reality. The excitement many felt for that first lovely snow day full of light, fluffy and easy to move snow has largely faded into two major questions for even the most snow-loving folks:
- Seriously, ANOTHER foot of snow?
- Where on earth are we going to PUT it?
Many snow piles are higher than even the tallest New Englanders, but with more on the horizon (in fact, our 4th big storm in as many weeks is adding to the tally as I write this), even the most enthusiastic shovelers are starting to literally feel the strain of moving all that snow.
Here are some tips to help your body recover from clearing out this storm in time to be ready for the next one.
Once you're done with a round of shoveling, resist the temptation to flop down on the couch with a cup of hot cocoa right away. The best time to stretch a muscle is when it is warm from activity. Think of a muscle as a rubber band. One that is cold is less able to stretch and may snap. One that is warm, however, is supple and is able to stretch comfortably and return to it's original shape. It is important to only stretch to the point of a gentle discomfort and not to the point of pain. In this case, more is not better.
Check out these links for some great stretches to try (click on the photo to open the link):
When we work our muscles for long periods of time, lactic acid can build up. It is this build up that makes us feel sore in the days afterward. One way to help the body clear that build up is to apply heat to the sore areas. Whether it is through a hot shower, a soak in a hot tub or a handy microwave heat pack, heat results in increased blood flow to the area which helps the body clear out the built up lactic acid more quickly.
Topical muscle creams:
There are many products on the market these days which can help to soothe sore and aching muscles. Tiger balm can be great, but it does have a strong odor which not everyone finds pleasant. Arnica gel is another product made with an extract of Arnica montana and is typically odorless.
Acupressure is a great way to help your body recover and is something that everyone can do at home. Here are two of my favorite points to use for helping your body heal from all that snow slinging.
Gall Bladder 34: This point is located on the lower leg and benefits the joints and sinews. The easiest way to find it is to take the edge of your hand and run it up the outside of you lower leg until you run into a bump a couple inches below the knee joint. Poke around for a sore spot just below and toward the front of your leg from that bump and press on it for a minute or two at a time.
Yaotongxue (Lumbar point): This is a pair of points located on the hand which, as the name implies, are helpful for relieving the lower back. To find these points run a finger starting at the knuckles between the index and middle fingers and the ring and pinky fingers until they come to a stop in a depression about an inch and a half before your wrist crease. If the points are sore, press them for a few minutes. Repeat on the other hand.
Now that you've done your post-shoveling self care, grab a cup of hot cocoa, put up your feet and treat yourself to some well earned relaxation!!