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Wintertime Survival Guide: Help From a Pro

How to shovel snow without landing in the hospital

Help From A Pro: Dr. Robert Staulo, owner of Newton Highlands Chiropractic

By Rebecca Dorr Sampson
January 30, 2011

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Big snow means big shoveling for Dr. Robert Staulo. When he’s not carving out a path at his home, the chiropractor is clearing the unusually large sidewalk abutting his Newton office. “I never seem to come around to hiring anybody,” he says, laughing, “so I shovel every time.”

To avoid straining your back, Staulo says to keep the shovel close to your body, and be careful not to overload it with snow, even if you’re in a hurry. “Take a hundred easy shovelfuls instead of 25 really hard ones,” he advises. “It doesn’t really slow you down, and it’s much easier on your body.” Also, bend your knees as much as you can, instead of stooping, which puts too much pressure on the back.

Shoveling garb is also important. If you’re underdressed, your muscles will chill and stiffen, which leaves you more prone to injury. Finally, take breaks. If you push yourself too hard, you’re more likely to wrench things best left unwrenched. But if you pace yourself and heed Staulo’s advice, “you’ll get a little positive exercise” – and a nice clean sidewalk.