Snow shoveling season is here! While you may enjoy getting outside to clear it, shoveling snow can be dangerous if you do it using improper form or if you have a joint injury or a chronic physical condition. You may want to speak with your doctor to ensure you are healthy enough for shoveling snow. If you are, consider the tips below to help you shovel snow safely:

  1. Salt first. If snow is in the forecast, you may want to salt your driveway or sidewalk before it starts. This can help prevent surfaces from getting slippery and reduce your chance of falling while shoveling.
  2. Warm up your muscles. Snow shoveling is a vigorous activity. As such, doing a 10 minute warm-up before you begin can help your body be prepared for the physical stress of shoveling.
  3. Don’t wait for a pile up. Shoveling smaller amounts of snow more frequently is better than trying to move large amounts of accumulated snow which is likely to be heavier. Clear a few inches of snow every few hours rather waiting until the snowfall ends.
  4. Push the snow. Pushing snow is easier on your body than lifting it. However, if you must lift snow use these pointers:
    • Bend your knees with back straight and feet hip-width apart
    • Do not twist your torso when lifting snow
    • Shovel small amounts¬† at a time
    • Walk snow to where you want to pile it instead of throwing it.
  5. Take breaks. Shoveling snow is a heavy form of exercise. Be sure to take breaks and drink water to prevent dehydration.

The snow will be piling up soon enough. Be sure to take care if you shovel it, using the tips above. If you do experience pain, stop shoveling and contact your physician if it persists.