Living in a house has many perks over a condo, but one of the most significant factors of annoyance might very well be the snow shoveling. Those who are elderly, pregnant or suffer from an injury and/or disability seem to maintain the highest risk factors when it comes to shoveling the snow. This is why we recommend whenever possible the other household healthy adults should try to do the snow shoveling instead, or hire a snow removal service for the winter season. If you are going to do your own snow shoveling though, doing in in a safe way is the key to preventing over-exertion and/or injury so here are some tips to help you shovel your snow safely this winter:
Melting ice and snow regularly can really cut down on the amount of shoveling you find yourself doing. Use salt, dirt or alternative ice melting materials like Urea, Liquid Ice Melt, Calcium Chloride or Calcium Magnesium Acetate. The alternative de-icer products can be greener for the environment and some may be more effective in colder climates than just dirt and salt. Each household will have its unique needs and uses so pick the product that works best for your house.
Before you head out to do the shoveling, make sure you’ve waited at least an hour after eating a meal. Put on all your warm gear and do a little warm up once outside just before you begin. Always start off slow and take frequent breaks. Avoid caffeine and nicotine, just stick to water to keep hydrated. Shoveling early and often will make the task a lot easier as new snow is much lighter than heavily packed or melting snow.
A good shovel makes the job much easier. Opt for lightweight plastic over metal and pick an ergonomically correct handle design. You can also spray a silicone based lubricant onto the blade which will help ensure the snow slides off with ease.
It’s critical to protect your back from injury by lifting properly. Bending your knees not your back and try to push the snow instead of lifting it. Hold the shovel close to your body and space your hands as comfortably apart as possible to increase your leverage. When lifting the snow, engage your core by tightening your abdominal muscles and avoid twisting.
There’s no question that shoveling snow is hard work for all homeowners, but done correctly and safely, it can be a great cardiovascular workout. Just remember to do things safely and protect yourself from slips and falls by giving your feet plenty of traction, maintain proper form, take frequent rests and drink plenty of fluids.