Last week we gave you some suggestions for driving in the snow in part one of our Stay Safe in the Snow series. Today it’s snow shoveling tips as we focus on how to take care of your body when you have to shovel the snow away from steps, sidewalks and driveways. It’s really all about body mechanics. Snow shoveling is a rigorous task and one people can easily get hurt doing.
Snow Shoveling Tips:
- First and foremost, check with your doctor if you are unsure of whether you are in healthy enough condition to be shoveling snow in the first place. Don’t be stubborn! Your life is worth more than a cleared sidewalk!
- Stretch before you go out! The cold can be hard on your muscles. Limber up a little, for at least 10 minutes to warm up and to avoid strain. Concentrate on your lower back and hamstrings. Shoveling a driveway can burn up to 500 calories!
- Be sure you are dressed for the weather. Layers of light, water-repellent clothing are best. Don’t forget a hat, gloves and slip-resistant boots.
- Find a lightweight, ergonomic snow shovel. One with a curved handle or adjustable handle length will minimize bending.
- Spray the shovel blade with cooking oil to keep snow from sticking. It’ll slide right off.
- Pay attention to what’s around you. Watch where you are stepping and when shoveling near a street pay attention to the traffic since they may not have good traction in the snow and ice.
- Push the snow when you can. Use your legs, not your back to lift the snow if you can’t push it.
- Keep your back straight when you move from a squat to an upright position.
- Hold the shovel close to your upper body. Keep one hand close to the blade of the shovel for better leverage.
- Never twist your body as you throw snow. Your back will thank you! Use those shoulder muscles. Walk and dump it instead of throwing it.
- Keep hydrated. Rest frequently and always ask for help if it’s just too much!