With our first official snowfall in the books, it’s that time of year when we have to dig the shovels out of the garage and get accustomed to the dreaded task of winter clean-up. Unfortunately not only is snow shoveling an annoying chore, it’s also one of those around-the-house jobs that can easily land you in the hospital if you’re not careful. To avoid a mishap, there are a few things that you can do to make shoveling less painful, difficult and risky.
First, get yourself a good tool to work with. If you’ve been using the same old shovel for 20 years, chances are it’s not doing you any favors. Today’s shovels are designed to help withstand the weight of heavy snow, which will reduce the chances of you blowing your back out. The buzz is on the True Temper Ergonomic Mountain Mover, which you can pick up for around $25 at The Home Depot or a local hardware store. It’s designed to prevent back and neck injuries and has both a comfortable handle and a plastic blade that will keep your porch and deck intact. Think of it as an investment.
When you’re ready to shovel, be prepared. Wait until the snowplows come around the neighborhood (unless you want to shovel twice) and layer up with comfortable clothes. If you’re not used to physical activity, warm up with a few stretches to prepare your back and arms. When shoveling, bend your knees and try to push large piles into a bank or your curb rather than lifting each shovelful. Try not to throw snow or make twisting and turning movements that will aggravate your back. People all too often underestimate the weight of snow and the physicality of shoveling and end up with back, neck and shoulder injuries. Don’t be one of them. Use your legs.
If you think you’re in good enough shape to shovel, start slowly, take frequent breaks and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. If you’re not up to the task, don’t be afraid to ask a friend, family or neighbor for help. Shoveling is rigorous exercise and could lead to injury or even a heart attack if you’re not used to similar activities. If you can’t find anyone to help you do the job, feel free to give me a call.