Is your shovelling game strong?  Recent weather across the country has many of us reaching for our rock salt, snow shovels, and then for some pain medication to help ease aching backs.  The good news is, beyond moving south, there are many tricks and tips you can apply to help you shovel better, faster, and effectively without injury.

Getting The Right Equipment

  •  Consider purchasing an ergonomic snow shovel
  • Use a plastic shovel to lighten what you need to push and lift

Before Getting Started

  • Be Prepared – consider salting before the snow starts flying to melt some of it as it lands
  • Warm up your muscles and do some stretches before you head out, to avoid injury
  • Have a plan to shovel areas that require paths first, and pile your snow in an area that won’t be blocking you in (or that you’ll need to move later)

Time Saving Hacks

  • Don’t clean up around your car before you clear it off, because then you’ll end up covering the same ground and shovelling the area twice
  • Wax your snow shovel blade to keep snow from sticking to it (you can wax it using candle wax, floor wax, car wax, and even cooking spray)
  • Shovel the end of your driveway last (to avoid having to shovel again when the snow plow goes by
  • Consider shovel alternative clearing methods like this snow rolling one 

Safety First

  • For snow that is more than a foot deep, avoid clearing right down to the ground with each scoop, instead skim off the top with one scoop and then finish up the area with subsequent scoops to avoid injury
  • Short frequent shovelling shifts add up – consider heading out every few hours since it’s easier to lift two to three inches of freshly fallen fluffy snow, than six to eight of densely packed snow
  • When you can, push the snow with your shovel instead of lifting it
  • Should you need to lift snow follow these techniques: Keep your feet hip width apart, bend your knees and keep your back as straight as you can, don’t twist your torso when lifting the snow, smaller shovel loads will be easier on you, & instead of throwing snow onto a pile push it over to the correct area and drop it onto the pile
  • If you’re feeling winded take a break (you should be taking a break every 15-20 minutes of shovelling

Keep In Mind

  • Remember to clear any snow accumulation away from your dryer vent or any other exhaust systems located around your home as blocked vents are fire hazards!
  • If you have a fire hydrant on your lawn make sure it is clear of snow so the fire department continues to have easy access to it
  • Shovelling is thirsty work!  The cold weather may disguise your thirst cues, but shovelling snow is a tough workout, so be sure to drink water before, during, and after shovelling snow