Snow shovelling is back-breaking work, sometimes literally. We’re not kidding: improper technique can be seriously bad for your health. You could seriously injure your back or pull a muscle, and because of how unique this chore is as an exercise, you’ll be putting your cardiovascular system through a lot of stress. Clear your driveway and save yourself a trip to the chiropractor or hospital – follow these simple tips!
Pick The Right Equipment
Saving your back this winter starts with the right equipment. Obviously, a light snow blower is ideal for your back – it does all the work for you! However, not everyone has the money for this machinery, and even they can be hard to move. In this case, an ergonomic shovel is the best choice. They are designed to reduce the amount of time you’ll have to spend bending over.
Choose a shovel that’s light and has an adjustable length. You won’t have to bend as much, or even at all, and the less weight you have to lift on top of the snow, the better!
Pick The Right Time
The best way to save yourself from shovelling a ton of snow? Start the work while the snow is only an inch or two on the ground. If you start early, salt early, and work away when required, you won’t exert too much time and energy digging out your car. Bonus: you might just get to work on time!
Before bundling yourself up in your mittens and toque, do some light aerobic activities and stretching. You’re more likely to injure cold muscles than warm ones, so anything that gets your blood pumping is good. Stretch out your back and leg muscles, do a little on-the-spot jogging, and consider using a hot water bottle on your lower back before or a heat wrap while you’re out there.
Use Proper Technique
When shovelling, try to keep your posture and movements in mind. It’s natural to use your back to get that extra push as you follow through on a shovelful of snow, but this will only increase your chances of throwing out your back. You can’t clear that snow away while groaning in agony on the couch!
The proper snow shovelling technique starts with keeping your feet hip-length apart. If you can push the snow rather than lifting it up – it’s simply much easier on the body. If you can’t, keep your back straight as you lift, bending at the knees to give you the leverage you need (“lift with your legs” is a cliche for a reason!). When depositing the snow, do not rotate your upper body as you dump the shovel. This snowy attempt at the clean and jerk will lead to serious back pain.
Remember: shovelling snow off your driveway isn’t a strongman competition. If the snow is heavy, take your time and shovel small amounts at a time. Take breaks when you can, drink water, and do what you can! And of course, give us a call!