Scooping snow seems simple, and it can be, but it doesn’t take much to strain a muscle, herniate a disc, or slip and fall. Here are a few things to keep in mind this winter when clearing your sidewalks and driveways:

  • Keep your back straight: A strong core is important, and if you bend at the waist and repetitively lift loads of snow out on the end of your shovel, you have a good chance of finishing your chores with back pain.
  • Bend at your knees: The quadricep and thigh muscles are some of the strongest in the human body. By squatting at the knees and hips as opposed to using your back, you decrease your risk of back pain significantly.
  • Avoid keeping your head down: Bending forward in the neck will encourage a flexed spine and poor posturing while scooping.
  • Place one hand about halfway down the handle: By holding too far down on the handle, poor posturing results, however, holding with two hands on the end of the shovel increases the amount of weight you have to lift. It is important to keep the load as close to the body as possible, as long as good posture is maintained.
  • Avoid simultaneous twisting and lifting: When you twist your back while lifting any amount of weight out it front of you, it increases your risk of back pain and injury.