Ten Tips for Safe Snow Shoveling

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Thus far this winter we’ve been fortunate with only frequent minor snowfalls, but we’re not in the clear yet despite the prediction of our friend Punxsutawney Phil.  In the event we get dumped on in the next few weeks, here are a few tips to keep in mind while clearing your driveway and sidewalks.

  1. If you experience pain of any kind, stop shoveling and seek assistance.
  2. Choose a shovel with a curved handle.  This allows you to keep your back more straight when shoveling.
  3. When possible push the snow, do not lift it.  Pushing puts far less strain on the spine than lifting.
  4. If you must lift, squat with your legs apart, knees bent and back straight.  Lift with your legs & do not bend at the waist.  Move your feet rather than twisting.
  5. As with any physical activity, warm up before you start shoveling.  At the least stretch and start slow.  Cold, tight muscles are more likely to sprain and strain than warm relaxed muscles.
  6. Grip the shovel with your hands at least 12-inches apart.  This will increase your leverage and reduce strain on your body.
  7. Never throw snow over your shoulder.
  8. Shovel smaller loads, wet snow can be very heavy.  A large shovel load of snow can weigh in excess of 25 lbs.
  9. Pace yourself by taking frequent breaks and gently stretch your back, arms and legs.
  10. If you have the resources buy or borrow a snow blower or pay the industrious neighborhood kid a few bucks to shovel for you.   It may put a strain on your wallet, but your body will thank you.


Advantage Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation

Gainesville Professional Village

7560 Gardner Park Drive

Gainesville, VA 20155

Phone:  (703) 753-1005

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9161 Liberia Avenue

Suite 205

Manassas, VA 20110

Phone:  (571) 229-1111



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