Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow …but if you don’t shovel safely, oh, oh no! Improper shoveling practices can leave you with a sore back and shoulders. So, before you dig out, take a look at these tips for safe and proper snow removal.
Many Hands Make Light Work
Lighten your load by enlisting the help of other members of your household. Even the little ones can toss a spade of snow. That is why they make tiny snow shovels, after all.
Choose the Right Shovel
There are several models of snow shovels on the market that can make shoveling easier on your back. Choose a push shovel, with a wide head and curved handle. Being able to push the snow aside can save you from having to do as much of the repetitive bend and scoop motion.
When it comes to using a scooping shovel, choose a model that has either a curved or telescopic handle, to minimize the amount of bending you’ll need to do.
Stretch Before Your Shovel
Before you head out to tackle the small mountain in your driveway, take a minute to engage in some simple stretching exercises. Give your back a gentle stretch, as well as your hamstrings, shoulders and arms.
There are several steps to consider if you want to protect your back when shoveling snow or lifting and moving any heavy objects.
- Bend at the hips, not the lower back
- Bend your knees and lift with your leg muscles
- Keep your loads light
- Don’t twist your back when relocating the load of snow
- Keep your hands about 12 inches apart on the shovel
- Walk to the relocation area, rather than reaching or tossing
If you’re tackling a large quantity of snow. Don’t do it all at once. Instead work for about 15 to 20 minutes and then take a break.
Choose a Different Tool
Alleviate the pain of shoveling by switching to a snow thrower. Even if your property isn’t that big, there are smaller electric versions on the market now. These small snow removers are available in both corded and cordless options and can help significantly lessen the burden of this all too frequent winter chore.