The Snow is Coming: Do You Know How to Safely Shovel Snow?

The Snow is Coming: Do You Know How to Safely Shovel Snow?Clearing the driveway after a snowstorm isn’t just a tedious chore; it can actually be dangerous if you don’t do it carefully. Moving a heavy shovel full of snow repeatedly without proper form can put you at risk of injury. Shoveling snow can increase risk for low-back and shoulder injuries because of the weight and imbalance of snow accompanied by poor posture when shoveling.

The risk of heart attack is also higher in the few days after heavy snowfalls. The intense aerobic work is a tremendous stress on the heart, while the cold is an additional stressor. Your blood vessels constrict to conserve heat, as heart has to work even harder to try and pump blood through those constricted blood vessels.

Leaving your snow piled up can be dangerous, but shoveling it improperly can be even more dangerous. Here’s our advice on safely clearing out your snow this winter.

Warm Up

Never jump out of bed and start shoveling snow. Your body needs time to increase blood flow before beginning activity, allowing you to move and bend more easily, reducing risk of injury.

If you just woke up, wait 45 minutes to an hour before shoveling. But before shoveling at any point in the day, move through a quick dynamic warm-up to “wake up” all the right muscles. Knee grabs are a great warm up you can do (alternating pulling each knee to your chest), along with large arm circles forward and back.

Know the Proper Form

Here are some components of proper shoveling form:

  • Keep knees slightly bent
  • Draw navel slightly in
  • Keep your back straight
  • Shift your hips back slightly
  • Keep your core engaged
  • Keep a wide grip on the shovel handle
  • Keep the shovel close to your body
  • Never twist or hyperextend your back to throw snow

Take Breaks

Injuries tend to happen when fatigue sets in. Keep your snow-shoveling intervals short and sweet, taking frequent breaks. It’s not recommended to shovel more than 40 minutes at a time. Try to break that time up to two 20-minute periods if you’re quite fit, and four 10-minute intervals for more sedentary people.

Keep the scoops small. You might assume it makes more sense to scoop huge heavy piles to move more snow more quickly, but this will tire most people out faster than just doing more reps with little piles.  

Work on Strength Training

Shovel more efficiently and protect yourself each time you do it, by building your total body strength. The break down of the snow-shoveling movement is a lot of traditional functional exercises. The foundation of the shoveling movement is a squat. Add squats and lunges to your workout routine to build lower body strength.

Shoveling does require a slight torso rotation. Do a standing torso rotation with a dumbbell or cable machine to build strength and stability. Deadlifts, standing bent-over rows, and lateral dumbbell raises are also great exercises to help.

A blocked driveway isn’t the only thing that can result from a snowstorm. Make sure you protect your home and your family this winter with Connecticut Homeowners Insurance.

About Byrnes Agency

At Byrnes Agency, we offer auto insurance solutions that can be tailored to meet your specific needs. Whether you have an old classic car or a brand-new model, we have the right coverage for you. To learn more about our products, contact us today at one of our two locations.

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