Shoveling Snow Successfully!

Winter means readiness for snow, and thus snow removal. While shoveling snow is a traditional and necessary part of living in a winter environment, it is important to understand how to do it correctly. More than 80% of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives; don’t let shoveling snow be the cause of that back pain!

Here are some handy tips to keep in mind.

  • Invest in ergonomically designed snow shovels, which are widely available in hardware and home centers.
  • Think of snow shoveling like exercise, because in addition to being a chore, that is exactly what it is. Your muscles and your heart get a work-out, so you need to take the same steps and precautions you would for any physical exercise.
  • Make sure to warm up the muscles by beginning your activity gradually. Stop to stretch after you have briefly warmed up. Pace yourself; take frequent breaks and hydrate as well.
  • Use good posture, and remember lifting techniques: bend from the knees (not from the waist) and lift with your legs.
  • Take smaller scoops, and push (rather than scoop) the large/heavy amounts of snow when possible. Avoid twisting your torso, or tossing heavy loads of snow (walk to the destination to deposit them).
  • Wear proper clothing and dress in layers, so you can shed them as you begin to warm up. Wear boots or shoes with treads, and salt any icy, slippery areas to prevent falls.
  • Try to shovel newer, fresher snow, which is less dense and therefore less heavy.
  • If something hurts, don’t push through it. Stop and evaluate so you can avoid injuring yourself.
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