Snow shoveling requires a significant amount of energy and strength, and as a result it is one of the most common causes of back injuries in the winter. Back injuries when shoveling snow are usually the result of not properly warming your body up before shoveling, shoveling at too fast of a pace, and not using proper ergonomic lifting techniques when shoveling.
At the store there are many choices when deciding to buy a snow shovel. We advise that you use an ergonomic snow shovel. This is the type of snow shovel that is used in the demonstration pictures. An ergonomic snow shovel has many advantages such as requiring you bend less with your back and bend more at your knees. These shovels are also generally lighter weight to help decrease the strain required to lift the shovel. These components help to make an ergonomic snow shovel the proper choice for all your shoveling needs.
Just like all exercise we advise you to warm up before beginning to snow shovel. Place close attention on stretching your quads, hamstrings, lowback, shoulders, and arms. The blog on our website has some great instructional videos to help demonstrate proper stretching form in case you are in need of a refresher.
Lifting techniques should be used when moving snow to help make sure you are not increasing your risk for injury.
1. Make sure you begin with squaring your body up to the shovel and face towards the area of show you are planning on shoveling.
2. Make sure you bend your knees and keep your back straight. Keep your feet shoulder width apart. Focus on pushing your chest up and out when loading the shovel. Place one hand as close as comfortably possible to he shovel blade.
3. Focus on keeping the load of snow in the shovel light to decrease the amount of load in the blade. Once you load the shovel handle make sure you lift with your legs and rotate the shovel with your hands and dump the snow to the side. Try leaning your arm against your leg to help support the weight of the shovel. Make sure you do not twist with your back while dumping the shovel blade.
4. The optional way to dump the shovel is by dumping the snow in front of you. Straighten your front leg and use it to lift the weight of the snow shovel. Keep the heavy portion of the handle close to your body. Walk forward and drop the load of snow in a new location.