Shoveling QUICKGuide

Leave the twist on the dance floor

When shoveling, toss the snow in the direction you are facing or turn your whole body to face the direction where you want the snow to go.  Avoid twisting as this can put undue stress on your back.

Get ready for an aerobic workout

Clearing snow is no easy task and you should treat it like a workout.  Pace yourself, take breaks, warm up and stay hydrated.

Get the right tools for the job

Dealing with a shovel that is too long or too short for your height can be a pain…literally.  You want to make sure you don’t have to bend over too deeply to shovel or when lifting, have the handle so long that the weight is distributed far away from your body.  Also, keep in mind the weight of the shovel.  If it’s too heavy for you, it can also increase the strain.

Shoveling isn’t the time for lazy loads

Shovel early and often.  The idea is to be moving small amounts of snow regularly, rather than waiting until you have 6-12” inches of white madness staring you down.  As Minnesotans, we know those little fluffy flakes become compacted, heavy snow.  Don’t try to tackle deep compacted snow with one big load on the shovel, break it up into manageable loads.

Lift like you mean it

It’s easy to get tired and lose sight of proper lifting technique.  Squat down with feet in an athletic stance (spread apart at least shoulder width), and lift with your legs, not your back.  The majority on the bending should be happening at the knees and not at the waist.  And if there is any option, push the snow rather than trying to lift it all the time.

Avoid falls

Wear boots or shoes with good grip and keep an eye on the ground for icy spots.  Thankfully, when you’re shoveling, you’re already looking that way.  There are even products you can put on your shoes to increase the traction; you can find them at your local sporting goods store.

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