Shoveling Snow: 7 ‘Secret’ Tips


I may be one of the rare New Englanders who actually enjoys the occasional “Nor’ Easter”…there’s a sort of excitement about the whole thing…making sure you have enough batteries for the heavy duty flashlight you can never seem to find and all of the other pre-storm preparation that goes on.  Yes, it would be nice if we could better plan these major snow storms with Mother Nature, perhaps ask her to begin the storm at 9pm Friday night and complete it by 6:30am Saturday….I digress.  The big storm is a license to be comfy all day by wearing sweatpants and warm socks all day and not feel like a complete loser.  Anyways, shoveling snow is no fun and poses the risk of injury, especially for those of us over 30 years ‘young’.  The biomechanics of shoveling are simply not good…..bent halfway over holding a long lever (shovel) and loading it with weight (snow) and then heaving it as far as humanly possible so as to not mess up the part of the driveway you just shoveled….sound familiar?  Keep these 7 helpful tips in mind before venturing out to brave the elements:

1.  Warm up BEFORE shoveling. Seriously, do some light stretching and some breathing squats to prepare the major muscle groups for the job ahead.  Don’t just roll off the couch after a two hour nap and start shoveling…you’ll be more likely to strain something!

2.  Do less, more often. Try to get out there every hour or two in order to keep up with the burden to some degree.  Shoveling 6 inches four times is a whole lot easier than trying to shovel 24 inches all at once.

3.  Use your legs. Be smart about the biomechanics of shoveling by bending your knees to bring the powerful leg muscles into the game.  It’s all about trying to minimize the amount of strain to the spine while utilizing the power and strength of the legs.

4.  Take your time out there. It’s not a race!  Enough said…

5.  Hydrate. It can be easy to forget about drinking water when your huffin’ & puffin’ arctic air, but make sure you keep those large muscle groups hydrated…before, during & after.  Dehydration leads to pulled/strained muscles, among other things.

6.  Smile. I know this sounds weird, but the very act of smiling during an unpleasant situation signals the brain and endocrine system to release “happy chemicals” into your blood stream and you’ll probably feel a little better about the whole thing.  Complaining about it doesn’t make it any easier.  Besides, it’s just snow!

7.  Have fun! We happen to live in an amazing part of the country where we have “snow days”.  Get the whole family involved…play, laugh, be silly, make hot chocolate or tea…enjoy it! Please “share” this article with your contacts…you could really help somebody!

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