Heavier snow IS going to come at some point. Shoveling snow is just a chore. There is no way around it. Does anyone really like shoveling snow? It’s possible, but I wouldn’t bet on it. It’s something we do because odds are we wouldn’t be able to leave our driveway all winter if we didn’t. Most people just want it to be over quickly, but it is a responsibility you must endure as a property owner. It’s your chance to be the guardian of the public safety if only in the immediate vicinity of your home.
Who wants to be out in the cold longer than necessary, especially on what is supposed to be a leisurely Sunday afternoon, for example? But rushing can bring more harm than the cold. If you are dressed appropriately you save yourself from frostbite, for one thing, but also it allows you to take the time you need to get your shoveling done safely.
Now, then. Before you even get outside, you need to warm up.
What people don’t realize about shoveling snow is that it is a heavy cardio
workout. You need to stretch. Maybe play “Eye of the Tiger” to pump yourself
Whatever it takes.
Next, you’ve got to choose your weapon wisely. While metal
shovels are heavy-duty, they are also just plain heavy. You can get a good,
solid plastic shovel with a metal edge for effective scraping that is much
lighter. They aren’t as durable as the metal ones obviously, so you have to
sort of pick your poison on that one, decide what your priorities are.
As long as we agree that shoveling snow is in fact a
workout, think about weight-lifting for a moment. You do it in sets. And in
between sets, you take short breaks. The same thing applies to shoveling snow
especially if you have a larger area to shovel.
Just like with any athletic endeavor, it is important to drink
enough water. You can become dehydrated in the dead of winter just as easily as
you could in the hot August sun depending on the stresses you are putting on
Lift with your knees if you must, but really you should be
pushing the snow off the sidewalk or driveway and into the yard. Just like a
snowplow. Lower back injuries are by far the most common injuries related to
snow shoveling. Heart-related incidents and deaths during shoveling are of
course the most serious, and that is why we hear about them often. But unless
you have a pre-existing condition or are severely over-exerting yourself, you
are more likely to hurt your back.
Timing is everything with snow shoveling. Generally, snow
will be lighter and fluffier right after it falls, before it gets wet and
well-packed, at which point you might as well be shoveling rocks.
So get on top of things next time it snows, but don’t over-do
Take care out there.