Snow shoveling is one of the most common causes of lower back injuries during the winter season. However, if done correctly, you can prevent injury and have an excellent workout. Here are a few tips to help you remove snow without straining your back.
Buy An Ergonomic Snow Shovel
Ergonomic snow shovels can help reduce the effort when shoveling. Make sure you select one that has a curved handle or an adjustable handle length to minimize bending. There are many ergonomic snow shovels in the market that are lightweight, small, and durable.
Warm Up Before Snow Shoveling
Cold, tight muscles are more prone to injury. Do yourself a favor and warm up for a few minutes before shoveling.
- Take a walk around the house, march in place or do another full-body activity
- Stretch your lower back and hamstrings
- Loosen your arms, legs and shoulders by flexing them
Shovel Slowly And Take Breaks
Even if you try to shovel fast, it is very likely that you will get injured and finish the job in more time than if you take it easy and give yourself breaks. Ideally, shovel only a few inches at a time. It is much easier, faster and puts less strain on your body. Also, make sure that you take breaks often to stretch your muscles and give your back a break. Don’t forget—it’s not a race!
Use Ergonomic Lifting Techniques
Ideally, you would want to push the snow to the side rather than lifting it. This is easy if you have a narrow path you are cleaning or you are working on the sidewalk. For wider areas, such as a driveway, here are some ergonomic techniques you can use to shovel snow:
- Face towards the object you want to lift and have your shoulders and hips squarely facing it.
- Bend at the hips, not the lower back, and push your chest out. Then, bend your knees and lift with your leg muscles making sure you keep your back straight.
- Keep your loads light, but if you need to lift a shovel full, grip it with one hand as close to the blade as comfortably possible and grip the handle with the other one.
- Avoid twisting your back to move the snow. Always pivot your whole body to face the new direction.
- When you need to move the snow further away from you, walk to the new location rather than reaching or tossing.
Get A Snow Blower
Even though snow blowers can be an investment, they will save you a lot of time and minimize the risk of getting injured. Here are some articles with tips on how to pick the right snow blower for you: Snow Blowers Direct, Lowes, CNN