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Shoveling Snow Safely: Tips for a Winter Workout

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

Listen. We know that this first big snow storm brings mixed reviews. Whether you love it or want to buy the first plane ticket to Hawaii you can get your hands on, the snow has to get moved somehow. Shoveling snow is a great way to stay active during the winter months, but it’s important to do it safely to prevent injuries. In this blog, we will explore essential tips for shoveling snow safely.

  1. Dress Appropriately

Before you even step outside to tackle that snowy driveway, it’s crucial to dress appropriately. Here are some tips for dressing for the occasion:

  • Layer your clothing: Wear multiple layers to stay warm and regulate your body temperature.
  • Choose the right outerwear: Invest in a good-quality winter coat, waterproof boots, gloves, and a hat to protect yourself from the cold and wet conditions.
  • Wear slip-resistant footwear: Make sure your boots have a good grip to prevent slipping on icy surfaces.
Photo by Jill Wellington on
  1. Warm Up

Shoveling snow is a strenuous activity, so it’s essential to warm up your muscles before you begin. Spend a few minutes doing some light stretching exercises to prepare your body for the physical exertion. Warming up can help prevent muscle strains and injuries.

  1. Use the Right Shovel

Choosing the right shovel for the job can make a significant difference in your safety and efficiency. Here’s what to look for in a snow shovel:

  • Ergonomic design: A shovel with an ergonomic handle will help reduce strain on your back and arms.
  • Lightweight material: A lightweight, yet durable, shovel will make the job easier and reduce the risk of overexertion.
  • Proper blade size: A shovel with a reasonably sized blade will help you move snow more efficiently.
Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on
  1. Clear Snow Early and Often

It’s easier to shovel a few inches of snow at a time rather than waiting for a heavy accumulation. Frequent, smaller shoveling sessions are not only easier on your body but also prevent the buildup of thick, packed snow that can be more challenging to remove.

  1. Use Proper Lifting Techniques

When lifting snow, use your legs, not your back. Bend your knees and lift with your leg muscles to reduce the strain on your back and prevent back injuries. Keep your back straight and your movements controlled.

  1. Push, Don’t Lift

Whenever possible, push the snow rather than lifting it. Pushing snow is less physically demanding than lifting, and it’s easier on your back. Use your shovel as a plow to push the snow to the side.

  1. Take Breaks

Don’t overexert yourself. Shoveling snow can be physically demanding, so take regular breaks to catch your breath and prevent fatigue. Hydrate and listen to your body – if you feel tired, stop and rest.

  1. Stay Hydrated

Even in the cold, your body still needs hydration. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after shoveling to stay properly hydrated. Dehydration can increase the risk of muscle cramps and strains.

  1. Know Your Limits

Finally, it’s crucial to recognize your physical limitations. If you have any underlying health conditions or concerns, consider hiring a professional snow removal service or asking for assistance from friends or neighbors. Your safety should always come first.

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on

Shoveling snow can be a fantastic winter workout, but it’s essential to do it safely. By dressing appropriately, warming up, using the right tools, and practicing proper techniques, you can minimize the risk of injuries while enjoying the satisfaction of a clear, snow-free driveway. Remember to take it easy, listen to your body, and stay safe this winter! And of course, if your back starts to let you know, you have done too much, schedule a massage or an adjustment with Aline Alaska Chiropractic!