5 Tips for Safe Snow Shoveling

With winter now upon us, millions of people are shoveling snow to clear their sidewalks and driveways. While most people recognize that snow shoveling is very hard work, and can put severe stress on your heart, fewer people recognize the stress and strain that it places on your back. So, as winter gets underway, we’ve outlined 5 tips for how to keep your back healthy when shoveling snow.

  • Stay on top of the snow. When there’s a heavy snow, the best advice is to stay ahead of the storm. To prevent snow and ice from adhering to the sidewalk, street, or your driveway, clear the snow every few inches instead of waiting for the snow to stop falling before you head outdoors.
  • Wear breathable layers. Layering is typical cold winter weather advice. Wear layers of loose clothing so you can peal a layer off if you get hot. Avoid wearing heavy wools, man-made materials or other materials that don’t allow perspiration to evaporate. Better choices are cotton and silk.
  • Watch your feet. Pay attention to what’s on your feet when heading outdoors to shovel snow. Wearing quality outdoor winter wear such as waterproof boots with good traction. Good traction is critical to ensuring that you don’t slip and fall.
  • Take a few minutes to stretch and stay hydrated. Shoveling snow is a workout so you need to stretch to warm up your muscles particularly because you are shoveling snow in the cold weather.Stretching before you start shoveling will help prevent injury and fatigue.
  • Push don’t lift. Sounds like something a high school wrestling coach may say, but if you push the snow to the side rather than trying to lift the snow to remove it, you exert less energy thereby placing less stress on your body

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