While this hasn’t been the worst snow we’ve had this year, it’s still a good time to review ways to protect your back when shoveling snow on your sidewalks and driveway.
Shovel snow without hurting your back:
1. Warm your body up before going outside. So many people throw on their snow gear and immediately start shoveling their snow. This is a poor idea. You wouldn’t start a workout or a soccer game without warming up first. Treat this as a workout or sports activity. At a minimum, pace around the house for 5-10 min before you go outside. Do it with all your snow gear on for added benefit!
2. Don’t wait until all the snow has fallen. We often get those 10-12+ inch storms. People hate shoveling snow and understandably only want to shovel it once. Unfortunately, those big storms often bring very heavy, wet snow. When you wait until it has all fallen your only option is to scoop and throw each shovel full. This quickly wears out the back and makes you more prone to a disc/strain injury. Shovel it when 1-2 inches have fallen. Repeat as needed. It’ll go fast each time and you won’t place such a heavy demand on your back.
3. Shovel a path down the middle of your driveway and then alternate the side you shovel. Repeatedly shoveling to the same side will strain your back by consistently flexing and rotating to the same side. This is another recipe for disaster.
3a. I also like to clear a path along the edges of the driveway. This way I’m not suddenly stopped by running my shovel into the grass unexpectedly.
4. Push/plow the snow as much as you can versus scooping and throwing. This is easier done if you’ve heeded the advice of #2. Once there are several inches on the ground this becomes impossible
5. Maybe this should have been #1, pay the neighborhood kids to do it so you can watch from inside drinking your coffee!