Doctors share tips on how to stay safe while shoveling snow, maneuvering ice

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Central Indiana has experienced some significant snowfall over the past week.

It can be tricky to shovel snow and maneuver on the ice, especially if you're in a rush. Local doctors say there's an art to mastering the winter without hurting yourself.

"People don't realize how strenuous shoveling snow can be and the problem is a lot of people haven't done any physical activity all year and then they go out to shovel snow," said Dr. Rob Olson, a chiropractor at The Joint.

Shoveling snow can be an equivalent to working out.

"You always have to be careful and pace yourself because on average, including the shovel itself, just the average snowfall depending on how wet the snow is, can be up to 20 to 25 pounds per each time you shovel," said Dr. William Jones, a sports medicine physician at Community Health Network.

So, before you pick up the shovel, warm up just like you’re getting ready for a workout.

"Doing a little jog in place to get your body temperature up, doing some stretching for your lower back especially," said Olson.

And make sure you're shoveling properly. Your technique could save your back.

"Make sure you lift properly as well, similarly to when you lift a package. Lift with your knees, not your back. Same thing with shoveling snow too. Try to make sure your back is in good positioning," Jones said.

And if you find yourself taking a tumble on the ice, don't panic.

"I've fallen twice this year. It's almost inevitable some winters. And the main thing is, if you're falling, let yourself go. Just go with it. Much better to do a slide than try to fight it and come down straight on an elbow or on your back or on your head," Olson said.

And if you're going to enjoy winter sports, like sledding or ice skating, make sure you always wear a helmet and layer your clothing to keep your muscles warm and flexible.

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