Your work is cut out for you when the fluffy white stuff falls. Sidewalks and driveways covered in a layer of snow can be dangerous to walk on. The problem is, getting rid of that snow can be an even more hazardous endeavor. Shovels aren’t exactly the most ergonomic tools in the shed, and snow blowers often leave you with areas that need a touch-up. Metal snow shovels are heavy and can trigger back problems, especially if the handle is too short. People with existing health conditions may suffer heart problems if they overexert themselves while shoveling. So how do you complete this task without injuring yourself? Our tips shine a light on the best way to shovel snow:
Dress to the negative 9’s
No getting around it, chances are you’ll be battling the Minnesota cold when you shovel. Wearing layers is a given, but you need to remember to remove them when you start sweating. Perspiration can actually make you feel colder as you shovel. Put on well-made gloves that allow your fingers to move but also prevent blisters and frostbite. When it’s frigid, don’t even think about shoveling without a hat. It will prevent loss of body heat and keep you comfortable. Boots with adequate traction are a must for slippery driveways and sidewalks.
Prepare your muscles
Stretching keeps your muscles warm which helps improve their efficiency. Even if you’re not very flexible, you still benefit from this preparation. Focus on your legs, arms and back, as those are the body parts you’ll be using most. Start by putting an arm over your chest and grab your forearm with your the opposite hand. Pull on the arm until you can feel pressure in your shoulder. Next, stretch your quadriceps by standing, grabbing the front of your foot and pulling your leg behind you. This stretch takes some balance; so make sure not to fall over! Finally, stretch your back by lying on the floor and pulling one leg towards your chest. Be sure to bend your knees! For each of these exercises, hold the stretch for a few seconds.
If the snow isn’t heavy or deep, you’re better off pushing rather than lifting it away. Hold the shovel at a slight angle and walk across the driveway slowly. Do as many passes as necessary to cover the entire area. When you need to dig, use a smooth and steady motion while maintaining good posture. Gain leverage by gripping the shovel with your hands spread far apart. One hand should be near the blade and the other near the top of the shovel. Your back should remain straight when you transition from squatting to standing. Bend at the knees rather than the waist, and try not to extend your arms while picking up snow. Tighten your stomach muscles and lift with your legs. Be sure not to use a twisting motion when you move the snow to a dedicated pile, since this can strain your back. If there’s a lot of snow to dig, take it slow, and lift only a small amount at a time. It’s okay to take breaks, too; so rest if you are starting to feel tired or strained.
Even if you’ve paced yourself, you’re still likely to feel a little exhausted after shoveling. It’s more than a chore – it’s a workout! Make sure you have enough water on hand to drink after you finish the job. If you’re feeling the chill, hot chocolate can help keep you warm and cozy. When warm cocoa doesn’t hit the spot, opt for tea or broth. Stretching after you have finished shoveling is also a good idea. Your muscles won’t feel as sore, and you’ll be more than ready for the next snowfall.
Most people don’t look forward to shoveling – especially those who lack strength or have heart problems. Our snow removal services give you a clear driveway without the need to overwork yourself. Our team arrives at your home following a significant snowfall to remove any pesky precipitation. You’ll save time and avoid city penalties. If you decide to do it all yourself, remember to stay safe! Your health is more important than a clear driveway.