Shoveling Snow Tips

Suketu Mehta Nov 30, 2018
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Shoveling snow is not a very easy job. These are some snow shoveling tips which will make your task easier.
As it snows a lot in the northern areas, shoveling is an indispensable activity for the residents there. The never-ending snowfall disrupts transportation and also restricts people from going out of their homes. For this reason, snow shoveling is necessary to keep the snow away, so that you can at least reach your garage or mailbox.
It is a tough task, and when combined with the extremely cold whether, it becomes even tougher as the weather makes breathing difficult. It can cause heart disorders, back injuries, and respiratory problems, especially for unfit people.
 The following people should keep away from this activity:
  • People leading a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Any person who has recently had a heart attack.
  • People who have a history of heart diseases.
  • Heavy smokers.
  • People with high blood pressure problems or high cholesterol levels.

Tips For Snow Shoveling

  • As this is a strenuous activity, avoid eating a lot, or smoking, just before you start. Also, do not consume any beverages which contain caffeine, as it could increase your heart rate.
  • If you feel pain of any kind in any body part while doing the activity, stop working right away and ask for help.
  • You should keep hydrating your body all the while by taking regular breaks and drinking sufficient amount of water. Instead of doing it in one go, space out your activity by placing refreshment breaks in between.
  • To increase foot traction on the icy and slippery ground that you are working on, spread some salt or sand on these areas so that you do not slip.
  • Always wear clothes that are comfortable and allow you easy movement.
  • As a lot of body heat is lost through the head, wear a cap or hat.
  • In case the weather is extremely cold, wear a scarf to protect your face, but leave enough space around the eyes so that you can see clearly.
  • To keep your feet warm and dry, and to provide good amount of traction while working on the snow, ensure that you wear the right kind of footwear. It will help you to maintain your balance as well.
  • Wear thick gloves which not only provide you with a good grip on the shovel, but also keep your hands warm and dry on the inside.
  • Select a shovel that has a curved handle. These are ergonomically correct as they ensure that you back is straight while shoveling and that you face no back problems later.
  • Pick a shovel which has a plastic blade instead of a metal one. Plastic blades are lighter in weight and easier to work with.
  • If you have back problems, it is better to use shovels with a smaller blade. Although the shoveling may take some extra time, you will be lifting less weight and hence, less pressure will be exerted on your spine.
  • Pushing snow is easier than lifting it. Hence, buy a shovel which is designed to push snow to make the work simpler.
  • Whenever you purchase a new shovel, apply a little bit of silicon lubricant on its blade. This will prevent snow from sticking to the blade.

Proper Shoveling Techniques

  • It is always better to warm up your body before you begin shoveling. Do a few basic stretches as warmed up muscles always work better.
  • Having the right grip while holding the shovel is crucial. Do not place both your hands very close to each other. Keep some distance between them. This will provide you additional leverage and make lifting easier.
  • Stand in the right posture and ensure that your spine is maintaining its natural curve.
  • Place your feet 'shoulder width' apart from each other while standing. Hold the shovel as close to your body as possible. Keep your waist and back straight and bend only at the knees.
  • Whenever you lift snow, tighten the muscles in your stomach. Lift the snow using your legs, and not your back. Avoid twisting your body.
  • Throw the snow in front of you. If you need to shift it to the side, do it by moving your feet and not by twisting your whole body.
  • Never throw snow over your shoulders, instead, move forward with it.
  • It is better to clear the snow as quickly after a snowfall as possible, as fresh snow is always lighter in weight. The longer you wait, the heavier it will become. Lifting heavy snow is difficult.
  • Take breaks in between the activity to refresh yourself, and do a few stretches for your back in these breaks as well.
By following these tips, you can assure your safety. There are snow blowers available, which also help in clearing out the snow, but these need to be handled properly to avoid back injuries. You will also find helpers who can do the task for you in exchange for money.