Shoveling snow with the right shovel can help avert back problems

Snow Shoveling Tips for Weary Winter Warriors

Among nature’s most beautiful scenes is the morning sun reflecting its dazzling light off newly fallen snow. The beauty of this scene, however, lasts only as long as it takes to realize you now have to shovel. To that end, the following are several shoveling tips created with your back’s preservation in mind:

Shovel in Small Batches

While the snow is still falling, get out your shovel and begin the snow-removal process. You’ll have to shovel again once the storm has finished, but you’ll have less snow to move at one time. The snow will also be lighter, and you’ll be less likely to hurt your back.

Use Different Shovels

You may be fond of a particular shovel, but working with only one type means you’re missing out on the benefit of different models. For instance, a pusher shovel can move a large amount of snow without lifting, preserving your back. Once you push the snow to the edges of your walkway or driveway, follow up with a garden-type shovel, which makes it easier to pick up snow. If the pavement is uneven, choose a plastic shovel without a steel edge, which is less likely to catch on bumps.

Know Your Limits

In certain situations, you can get injured while using a shovel. Lift too much snow with bad form and you’ll become reacquainted with certain muscles in the worst way possible. Always lift snow by bending at the knees — this will allow your legs to do the work, not your back. Snow shoveling can also cause injuries to other parts of your body, especially if you fall. There is also the valid concern that shoveling might lead to a heart attack, according to Cleveland Clinic, especially if you’re not in good health.
Man using snow blower in storm

Invest in a Snow Blower

When it comes to comparing the effectiveness of a snow shovel with a snow blower, only the blower will give you the best chance of avoiding back problems. Weight that would normally be borne by your lower back muscles is instead handled by the machine. However, that doesn’t mean you’re completely safe.

Thousands of people have been seriously injured by snow blowers, according to NBC Chicago. These injuries typically involve the way operators respond to a clogged machine. Specifically, users may stick their hands in a clogged chute in an attempt to dislodge snow. Even with an idled engine and the blades turned off, there is often rotational force remaining, causing the blades to make a sudden quarter or half turn while your hand is still inside.

Snow Removal Tips

Regardless of the method you choose for removing snow, precaution is the word of the day. In addition to a shovel or snow blower, you should use ice melt to remove snow residue and keep black ice from forming.

Then again, you can always take advantage of the teenager who rings your doorbell with shovel in hand — this way, an able-bodied youngster will remove the white stuff while you have your feet propped up in front of the hearth.

Check out all the lawn & garden products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on shoveling tips, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

about author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.

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