We may have celebrated the holidays, but that doesn’t mean that the cold, wintry weather is behind us. In fact, it’s just the beginning. January and February are the coldest months of the year, and they can also bring a lot of snow. If it does snow, it will be your responsibility to shovel the driveway and sidewalks. If you’re used to shoveling, you know that this task can be strenuous on the back, but it also places additional stress on areas that we can’t see, such as the heart.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce the amount of stress shoveling places on the body. Read on for tips for safe shoveling this winter season.
Choose the right snow shovel – Too often, we grab for whatever snow shovel we can find, even if it belongs to our neighbors. You need a snow shovel that fits your body and physique. Some things to look for include a curved handle, a plastic shovel blade and perhaps even a smaller blade. The shovel handle is the right length when you can slightly bend at the knees and flex your back ten degrees.
Adopt the proper shoveling technique – Before shoveling, familiarize yourself with the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons’ recommendations on shoveling. They advise that if you have to lift, you should lift with your knees, scoop small amounts of snow and walk to where you want it dumped. Shovel in one-inch increments as well.
Push the snow, don’t lift it – Pushing places much less strain on the back than lifting does, so always aim to push. Also, never throw snow over your shoulder.
Warm up the muscles – Just as if you were to do any type of physical activity, it’s important that you warm up the muscles beforehand. With the cold weather, you’re more likely to have stiff muscles that are apt to pulls and strains. Stretch and get moving so that your muscles are less tight.
Stretch often – Take breaks frequently. Stretch the back, arms and legs, and walk around to keep the muscles loose. If you do experience any type of pain or discomfort, stop shoveling immediately.
For some people, using a snowblower can alleviate a lot of these problems, but an even better option may be to hire a professional landscape company to handle the winter weather for you. With no need to purchase equipment, worry about snow and ice or deal with shoveling in the cold, a lawn company is the perfect compromise for many homeowners.
Blog sponsored by: Horizon Landscape