Look out: watch out for icy patches or uneven ground, since a fall could be worse than just having to shovel a bit of snow. Make sure to keep scarves and hats from blocking your vision, you need to watch where your shovel or blower is going too.
Warm-up: warm up with some light exercise inside for 10 minutes before you go exercise by moving snow outside. Once you’re back inside warm up again with a nice hot drink.
Pace yourself: just like any other exercise, be sure to take breaks when you need them, and don’t get dehydrated. You don’t feel as thirsty when it’s cold, but you need to stay hydrated all the same. If you’ve gone at it too hard and experience chest pain, shortness of breath of other signs that indicate a heart attack be sure to stop immediately and call 9-1-1.
Pace your blower: snowblowers can help make quick work out of clearing a driveway, but if used improperly could leave you with a back injury. They are designed to move at a particular speed, so don’t be trying to force your blower to go faster – it’s already doing the work for you!
Pick your weapon wisely: if using a shovel make sure to pick one that is comfortable for your height and strength. Using a shovel that is too heavy, too long, or even too short is not only asking for injury but also makes shovelling less efficient.
Just don’t do it: if you have a medical condition or do not exercise regularly, make sure to check in with your doctor before braving all that white stuff. Snow removal places high stress on the heart, and you might be better off hiring someone to remove the snow for you.
How to shovel snow without injury:
- Push the snow, instead of lifting it, as much as possible
- If you need to lift the snow, lift with your legs by squatting with your back straight; don’t bend at the waist
- Only scoop small amounts of snow at a time, and remove deep snow in pieces: holding a heavy shovel of snow with your arms outstretched puts strain on your spine
- Walk the snow over to where you want it, do not throw it over your shoulder to avoid twisting your back.