The following is a guest post by Rodney Southern.
Heading outside in the cold of winter to shovel snow sounds like a pretty straightforward task, but nothing could be further from the truth. Do it wrong and you will find yourself laid up with a bad back, pulled muscle, or in extreme cases, even a heart attack. Snow shoveling is serious business and should be done properly. Here are some tips to keep you safe and productive when shoveling snow this winter.
Warm Up Your Muscles
Before shoveling, you should warm up as though you were exercising. This is common sense really because shoveling snow is as tough as any workout. Take some time to stretch out your legs, back, and arms, paying particular attention to your hamstrings. This is the most commonly injured area when you are shoveling snow. Wear a back brace or other supports if you need them.
Dress in Layers
It is very easy to get overheated while shoveling snow. For this reason, you should wear a few layers that you can remove as needed. Keep in mind that staying dry is the key to staying warm. Take your time and add or take away layers as needed.
Drink Plenty of Water
Staying hydrated is absolutely necessary in a tough workout, so snow shoveling certainly qualifies. The last thing you want is to get dehydrated while dumping snow. Have plenty of water handy and drink it regularly.
Use Good Posture
When you lift snow, you should always keep a straight back. Use your legs and shoulders as much as possible and keep one hand down closer to the shovel head. This will give you leverage and make the snow lighter. Never throw snow. Rather, you should carry it to where it goes and dump it off the edge of the shovel.
Move Slowly and Steadily
Many people go out and start slinging snow willy nilly. Find a steady pace and stick with it. Moving snow smartly is far more productive than doing it fast.
Have a Dumping Area
Know where you are going to dump each shovel full of snow before you begin. Having a dumping area is vital to your productivity. Why pick it up more than once? Know where it is going, and put it there the first time.
Move the Shortest Distance Possible
Before you put your shovel to snow, know where you are going with it and what the closest drop off point will be. When you are doing a larger area, find the closest edge you can drop the snow in. Again, double work is not a good idea.
Invest in Good Equipment
If you have regular snowfall, you should invest in some good equipment. A decent shovel is the bare minimum. Some folks buy snow blowers and de-icers. If you have poor equipment, you will have to work twice as hard to do the same work.
Shoveling snow is not all that tough if you take it nice and easy. Steady work will get the job done safely. Spend time preparing and then stick to your method, and you will get the job done in no time.
Rodney Southern is a long time content writer specializing in a wide array of niches both online and in print. His work has been featured on sites such as Yahoo.com, The Sporting News and numerous others over an eleven plus year career. He also runs his own website on diabetes called Dashing Diabetes. He was the National Call for Content Winner for 2008. Southern resides in Greensboro, NC with his wife, Julie, and identical twin daughters, Valerie and Brooke.