Winter weather often brings snow to blanket the landscape, and shoveling becomes a common chore. While it’s an excellent way to stay active and maintain your property, prioritize safety during this cold-weather activity. Shoveling snow is physically demanding and poses risks, especially if not done with care. Here are a few tips to shovel snow safely and avoid common injuries.
Ways to Shovel Snow Safely
1. Warm-Up to Shovel Snow Safety
Cold weather makes muscles tense and more prone to injury. Take a few minutes to warm your body with light exercises like jumping jacks or walking around your home. Warming up will increase blood flow to your muscles and prepare your body for the physical activity ahead.
2. Dress Appropriately
Bundle up in layers to protect yourself from the cold. Wear a waterproof jacket to stay dry, and make sure your clothing allows for easy movement. Don’t forget to wear a hat and gloves to protect your extremities from the cold.
3. Choose the Right Tool to Shovel Snow Safely
Select a shovel that suits your height and strength. Ergonomically designed shovels with a curved handle reduce the strain on your back. Use a lightweight, plastic shovel for lighter snow, as it’s easier on your muscles than a heavier metal one.
4. Lift with Your Legs, Not Your Back
The most common injuries while shoveling are related to improper lifting techniques. Bend your knees and lift with your legs, keeping your back straight. This technique distributes the weight more evenly and reduces the strain on your back.
5. Take Breaks and Pace Yourself
Shoveling snow is a workout, and it’s essential to take breaks. Pace yourself and listen to your body. If you feel tired or out of breath, stop and rest for a few minutes. Overexertion in cold weather can lead to exhaustion and may increase the risk of injury.
6. Shovel Snow Safely: Push, Don’t Lift
Whenever possible, push the snow rather than lift it. Pushing is less strenuous on your back and shoulders. Use your shovel as a plow and make short, controlled movements to shift the snow to the desired location.
7. Stay Hydrated
Even in cold weather, it’s necessary to stay hydrated. Dehydration makes your muscles more susceptible to injury. Drink water before, during, and after working to maintain your body’s hydration.
8. Mind Your Heart Health
Shoveling snow is strenuous on the cardiovascular system. If you have a heart condition or are not accustomed to intense physical activity, consult with your healthcare provider before tackling heavy snow removal.
9. Use Ice Melt or Sand
To prevent slipping and reduce the amount of snow you’ll shovel, spread ice melt or sand on walkways and driveways. These products make the snow removal process easier and safer.
10. Ask for Help
If the snowfall is heavy or you have pre-existing health conditions, ask for help or hire a pro. Shoveling with a friend or family member makes the task more manageable and boosts safety.
Shoveling snow is a winter workout that keeps you active and contributes to the safety and aesthetics of your property. With these tips to prioritize safety, snow removal can be an enjoyable and injury-free experience.