Shovel Snow without Injury

As beautiful as snow can be as it’s falling – creating a white, soft blanket on the ground – at some point we have to get out in the cold and shovel the driveway. This can be a difficult task for some, and injuries do occur. It is important that we are careful how we shovel so that we don’t injure our backs and/or slip and fall. Remember some snow is heavier than others which can make it more difficult to move. Please keep these tips in mind before you go out to tackle this winter chore.

  • It is cold outside, so make sure you wear appropriate clothing.
  • Make sure you are hydrated.  Even though it’s cold you still will sweat.  
  • Don’t just tackle the snow right off the bat, do a proper warm-up with stretching and movements to get the body ready for the activity.  
  • Do a dynamic warm-up with body weight squats and step lunges
  • Know what the surface is like prior to shoveling.  It might be icy underneath the snow. 
  • Take breaks if needed to allow the body to recover. If you feel pain, stop and do not continue. You will fatigue and tire but avoid pain.  
  • If you feel any lightheadedness, shortness of breath, chest pain, or feel nauseous you need to STOP immediately and call for help.  
  • Use an appropriate shovel with proper length for your height.  
  • Use a proper grip, keeping your hands apart to improve your leverage when lifting.
  • If the snow is light enough, pushing the snow is better and easier to manage
  • Bend at the knees and hips when lifting and removing snow, keeping your back straight.  
  • Lift with the legs and not at the back. 
  • When you turn to remove the snow, rotate your hips and keep them in alignment with the feet.
  • Walk the snow over to wear you need to discard.  Do not try to toss the snow. 
  • Repeat until the driveway is clear.
  • Again make sure to take frequent breaks as needed.  

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