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  • Writer's pictureDr. Kara Rosenstrauch

Shoveling Safely: Tips to Protect Your Back During Winter's Heavy Snowfall & The Best Shovel to Use

Updated: Apr 7

Last week's three feet of snow may have turned your driveway and sidewalks into a winter wonderland, but it also means it's time to break out the shovels. While shoveling snow can be a great workout, it can also be a potential source of back pain and injury if not done correctly. In this blog post, we'll discuss some essential tips to help you shovel safely and protect your back from strain and discomfort.

  1. Choose the Right Shovel: Before you start shoveling, make sure you have the right tool for the job. Opt for a shovel with a curved handle and a non-stick blade. A curved handle allows you to maintain a more ergonomic posture while lifting snow, reducing strain on your back. Additionally, a non-stick blade will make it easier to push and lift snow without exerting excessive force. Here is my choice for the best ergonomic shovel. Trazon Ergonomic Shovel

  2. Warm Up Your Muscles: Just like any other physical activity, it's essential to warm up your muscles before shoveling. Take a few minutes to stretch your back, shoulders, and legs to increase flexibility and reduce the risk of injury. Gentle movements like arm circles, side bends, and knee lifts can help loosen tight muscles and prepare your body for the task ahead.

  3. Lift with Your Legs, Not Your Back: One of the most common mistakes people make when shoveling snow is using their back to lift heavy loads. Instead, focus on using your leg muscles to do the heavy lifting. Start by bending your knees and keeping your back straight as you lift the shovel full of snow. Use the power of your legs to lift the snow and avoid twisting your torso while throwing it to the side.

  4. Pace Yourself: Shoveling snow can be a demanding activity, especially after a significant snowfall. Avoid overexerting yourself by pacing your shoveling session. Take frequent breaks to rest and catch your breath, especially if you start feeling fatigued or out of breath. Remember, it's better to take your time and shovel safely than to rush through the task and risk injury.

  5. Push, Don't Lift: Whenever possible, push the snow instead of lifting it. Use your shovel to push the snow to the edge of your driveway or sidewalk rather than lifting it up and throwing it. Pushing requires less strain on your back and can help conserve your energy during prolonged shoveling sessions.

  6. Use Proper Technique: Maintain good posture throughout the shoveling process to minimize stress on your back. Keep your feet hip-width apart for stability and grip the shovel handle with both hands, keeping them shoulder-width apart. Avoid twisting your body while shoveling and instead use your feet to pivot and change direction.

With last week's three feet of snow blanketing the ground, shoveling may be a necessary chore for many. However, it doesn't have to result in back pain or injury. By following these simple tips—choosing the right shovel, warming up your muscles, lifting with your legs, pacing yourself, pushing instead of lifting, and using proper technique—you can shovel safely and protect your back from strain. So, the next time you venture out to clear your driveway, remember these tips to make the task a breeze and keep your back happy and healthy.

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