We had the most torrential snowstorm in the midwest a few weeks ago, and my back is still aching from all of that shoveling. I once heard someone say that if your back hurts from a day of shoveling, you're not doing it right.
Of course, I didn't realize that there was a right or wrong way to shovel snow until I discussed the issue with a trainer at my gym. Apparently, yes! There is a wrong way to shovel, and that wrong way was exactly how I've been doing it all this time.
So, in the spirit of turning over a new leaf in 2010, here's the rundown of how you should be
shoveling your snow:
1. Do some stretching before you head outside, just to limber up like you would before any other workout.
2. When buying a shovel, invest in one that has a smaller blade -- the less snow you pick up, the less strain on your body. You may also want to try a lightweight, ergonomic shovel -- preferably one with a bent handle (pictured). A shovel with a plastic blade will be lighter than a steel blade, but the choice is yours.
The True Temper shovel has a narrow 18-inch blade and an ergonomically bent handle that helps scoop up snow. Photo: Lowe's
3. If you can, avoid lifting
the snow while shoveling. Instead, push the snow to the side.If you must lift the snow, stand with your feet hip distance apart and keep the shovel close to your body.
4. Always bend from the knees, not the back or torso.
5. Tighten your abdominal muscles as you lift the snow to help provide extra back support.
6. Pause every 10 minutes or so to catch your breath and make sure you're not overexerting yourself.
7. Avoid drinking coffee before going outside in the snow, as it can place more stress on your heart by increasing your heart rate and causing blood vessels to narrow.
8. Dress in layers and remove layers as you work up a sweat to avoid overhearing.
9. Drink plenty of water before, during and after you shovel your driveway.
A few other cool snow shovels we found include wheels, but no motor, so they reduce pollution and
physical strain! The Wovel
is touted as the world's safest snow shovel; it even won an award from Time magazine. Then there's this lightweight ergonomic shovel
we found on QVC for just $65.
Got any other snow-shoveling tips? Leave a comment and let us know!