Monday, February 13, 2012

How To: Shovel Snow

PhotobucketSnow shovelling is no joke, and certainly not for the faint hearted. No kidding: people die each year from heart attacks related to shovelling snow.

You can also easily injure yourself if you aren't careful when undertaking this, well, let's face it, fairly stressful workout.

Taking a few steps with ensure that you stay safe and clear your sidewalk, driveway and other footpaths safely.

Stretch before you start

It really is a workout! And you always stretch beforehand.

Dress warm, but not TOO warm

Being a workout, you need to dress for the job. Just keep in mind that you'll likely start sweating in no time, so layering is a good idea. You don't want to get soaked in sweat.

Take breaks

It might be soul crushing (oh, I know it can be very...) to look out and see over 2/3 of that, now suddenly vast, expansive and huge, driveway to clear. You need to get to work! It's cold! I hate this! But taking breaks is important.

Try to keep your shovel under-loaded

It's tempting to fill up that shovel, but it's best not to. Muscle strains are no fun, and you can easily hurt your body in a variety of ways.

Moving the snow: don't twist, don't move it twice

That is, find the most efficient way to clear your space before you even start. You're essentially dealing with a rectangle to clear, so just move the snow to the closest edge. It gets heavy after only a few minutes, and you'll have greater snow-shovelling stamina if you enter with a plan first.

When you dump the snow, try not to twist your body. You're carrying a heavy load, and one that's not close to your body (which is the best practice when carrying loads), so twisting your body is particularly treacherous.

If you can, get a head start and a hand

It's easier with help! Enlist people to grab another shovel and help clear, if you can.

Getting a head start, while the snow isn't too thickly laid on the ground, will make you a happier camper later (after the other hours of snow have come to rest on your preciously cleared walkways). *frowny face*

Keep your neighbours in mind

Let me tell you, you can raise the wrath of those around you if you put the snow somewhere it shouldn't be! Don't shovel it onto the road (I see so many people doing this... it's not cool), know your neighbours are trying to clear their sidewalks and driveways too. Putting your snow there, also not cool! And, a bit of kindness: elderly neighbours, or people otherwise unable to shovel, you'd be doing them a solid if you did their sidewalk. In some municipalities a homeowner will be fined if snow is not removed within 24 hours (or however long the bylaw states).
Also, keep in mind that this snow will melt at some point: piling it against the house isn't the greatest plan, unless you're cool with the possibility of water in your basement.

Shovel safe!

1 comment:

juxtaposeur said...

I'd like to caution against "cold" stretching before any vigorous activity. Warming up your muscles before stretching is a must! You should warm up, stretch, and only THEN activitize!