Proper Body Mechanics Are Critical To Avoiding Pain & Injury From Snow Shoveling
- Use the right shovel. Ergonomic shovels that have a curved shaft allow for better leverage and are easier on the body. Plastic shovels are typically lighter than metal ones.
- Proper grip is important. Don’t keep your hands too close together. Placing your hands further apart improves the leverage, which will allow you to work more efficiently.
- Maintain proper spine alignment. It is critical that you keep your back straight and your head in line with your spine. Your ear, shoulder, and hip should always stay in line. To attain proper spinal alignment while bending, you should bend your knees, stick your hips back, keep your back straight, and tuck your chin slightly in.
- Use good technique. Keep feet apart, bend the knees, and lift the shovel by straightening your knees and not by straightening your back. If you need to move the snow, walk your feet to where you would like to dump the snow. Never bend at the waist and avoid twisting your midsection to move the snow to the side. Never throw snow over your shoulder.
- Push whenever you can. Pushing the shovel with one leg in front of the other, knees slightly bent and back straight is always better than lifting the snow.
- Lighten the load. Don’t try to move heavy amounts of snow. It is better to minimize the load. Consider buying a smaller shovel to reduce the amount and weight of snow your shovel can hold.
- Remember to stretch before shoveling, take frequent breaks, drink fluids and stop if you feel pain.