Tips for Snow Shovelling
Ice and snow are hazardous. Each year, Canadians slip and fall straining muscles and even braking bones when they are removing snow. Here are a few tips from to make snow removal safer and easier.
Warm up or start slow
- Warm up your muscles by stretching your legs, doing some back stretches and arm swings
- A light pushing motion of a small amount of snow will also help to warm up the body
- A shovel that is too big for you may mean you have to push and lift 20 pounds of snow; one too small will make 1000 paths and take you much longer
- Wear proper footwear. Good treads on winter boots are a must
- Don’t overdress or you could overheat
- A broad-based grasp with your hands spaced shoulder-width apart on the handle will provide you with the leverage necessary to complete the task efficiently
Add Some Sand or Salt
- For hard packed snow, consider adding salt or sand to speed up melting and to provide some traction
Lifting and Bending
- Always lift with the larger muscles of your legs and bend at your knees. Avoid bending and lifting solely with your back
- Don’t forget to “breathe” when lifting
- When tossing the snow avoid twisting your back – toss the snow directly in front of you
- Shovel several smaller and lighter loads rather than one large load
Don’t Overdo it
- Shovelling snow is like any strenuous activity. Plan rest breaks throughout.
- If you are at risk of heart disease, have a history of heart trouble, high blood pressure or back and joint pain, consult a health care professional before attempting any strenuous activity including snow shovelling.
Finally, if you can afford it, consider a snow blower or hiring someone else to do the job!
Angela Mitrovic PT, Physiotherapist, and Myra Del Rosario OT Reg. (Ont.), Occupational Therapist