By: Jaceson Maughan
Shoveling snow is hard on the body. There are some safety tips you can follow to minimize harm and avoid the aches and pains that often follow shoveling. Back problems, muscle strain and even heart attacks have been linked to snow shoveling or using a snow blower. Shoveling is a part of living with snow, and when you do it with some precautions, it can be a great cardiovascular workout.
Prepare for snow removal with a good stretch that will loosen your muscles up and reduce soreness afterwards. Considering that the average shovel full of snow is around 15 pounds, a lot of strain takes place when you're clearing off the average driveway. Doing some arm and leg stretches will keep the limbs limber, while stretching out the back can help avoid muscle strain.
Working the snow shovel to clear sidewalks and driveways is more than just scoop and lift. Using safe-lifting techniques, you can minimize stress to joints and muscles.
Choose a shovel with a medium-sized blade. Less snow means less heavy lifting. Avoid snow shovels with straight handles; the ergonomic, curved designs are best. Lift with your legs instead, not your shoulders or back. Keep your waist straight and don't twist your back to throw the snow to the side. Instead, take a step in the direction you want to throw the snow to reduce back soreness.
Plan of Attack
Don't just start at the top of the driveway and work your way to the street. One of the biggest mistakes people make when shoveling the driveway is to pick up and carry snow to the closest place where it can be dumped. This isn't the most efficient way to get the job done.
To start, shovel a straight line down the center of the driveway. Then attack the buildup from the snow plows at the end of the driveway while you are fresh and ready. Go back up one side of the driveway and push what snow you can from the center line off to the side. Repeat on the other side to avoid carrying snow or twisting from side to side to throw it.