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The Proper Way to Shovel Snow During a Winter Storm


Shoveling snow during a winter storm requires additional considerations for safety and efficiency. Here are some tips on the proper way to shovel snow during challenging winter conditions:

  1. Stay Informed: Stay updated on weather forecasts and plan your shoveling accordingly. If possible, shovel during breaks in the storm to avoid tackling heavy accumulations.
  2. Layer Up: Dress in warm, layered clothing, including waterproof outer layers to stay dry. Wear insulated, water-resistant boots and gloves for protection against the cold and wet conditions.
  3. Begin Early: If the snowfall is ongoing, consider shoveling in stages rather than waiting for the storm to pass. This prevents a buildup of heavy, compacted snow.
  4. Use Snow-Resistant Salt or Ice Melt: Apply snow-resistant salt or ice melt before shoveling. This helps prevent the formation of ice on walkways and driveways, making the shoveling process easier.
  5. Shovel Strategically: Start by shoveling a small path down the middle of the driveway or walkway. This provides a clear area to walk and helps break up the task into more manageable sections.
  6. Snow Removal in Layers: Remove snow in layers, especially during heavy storms. Shovel a few inches at a time, working from the top layer down to the surface. This prevents overexertion and minimizes strain on your muscles.
  7. Push, Don’t Lift: Pushing snow is generally less strenuous than lifting. Use a snow shovel with a wide blade to push snow to the sides, minimizing the need to lift heavy loads.
  8. Watch for Overexertion: Winter storms can bring not only heavy snow but also cold temperatures. Be mindful of overexertion, take breaks, and stay hydrated. If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, or any signs of a medical emergency, stop immediately and seek medical attention.
  9. Mind Your Surroundings: Be aware of your surroundings, including potential obstacles hidden by the snow. Watch out for uneven surfaces, hidden objects, or icy patches that could cause slips or falls.
  10. Use Proper Lifting Technique: If lifting is necessary, use proper technique by bending your knees and lifting with your legs, not your back. Keep the load close to your body and avoid twisting your torso while lifting.
  11. Clear Snow from Cars: If you have a vehicle, clear snow from it regularly to prevent a buildup that can be difficult to remove later. This also helps avoid the risk of falling snow or ice while driving.
  12. Take Breaks: Shoveling during a winter storm can be physically demanding. Take breaks as needed to rest and recover, especially if the snow is wet and heavy.

Remember that safety is paramount when shoveling snow during a winter storm. If conditions become too challenging, consider seeking professional snow removal services or help from neighbors.

Shoveling snow may seem straightforward, but doing it properly can help prevent injuries and make the task more efficient. Here’s a guide on the proper way to shovel snow:

  1. Warm-Up: Before starting, warm up your muscles with light exercises. Cold temperatures can make muscles more prone to injury, so a brief warm-up can help prepare your body for the physical activity.
  2. Choose the Right Shovel: Use a shovel that is appropriate for your body size and strength. A lightweight, ergonomic shovel with a curved handle can reduce the strain on your back and make the job more comfortable.
  3. Dress Appropriately: Wear warm, layered clothing and slip-resistant footwear. Dressing appropriately will keep you warm and help prevent slips and falls on icy surfaces.
  4. Pace Yourself: Shoveling snow is a demanding activity, so take breaks as needed. If possible, shovel in intervals rather than trying to clear the entire area at once.
  5. Lift with Your Legs: When lifting snow, bend at your knees and use your leg muscles to lift, rather than bending at your waist. This technique helps prevent strain on your back.
  6. Push, Don’t Lift: Whenever possible, push the snow rather than lifting it. Pushing is less strenuous on your body. If you need to lift, use your legs and not your back.
  7. Clear Small Amounts at a Time: Shovel smaller amounts of snow at a time, especially if it’s wet and heavy. This reduces the risk of injury and makes the task more manageable.
  8. Use Proper Technique: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and grip the shovel with your hands apart to increase leverage. Keep your back straight and shovel close to your body. Avoid twisting your torso while lifting.
  9. Throw Snow in Front of You: If you need to throw snow, aim to toss it in front of you rather than over your shoulder. Twisting and throwing snow over your shoulder can strain your back and increase the risk of injury.
  10. Salt or Sand Walkways: After shoveling, apply salt or sand to walkways to reduce the formation of ice. This helps create a safer path for walking.
  11. Stay Hydrated: Even in cold weather, staying hydrated is essential. Drink water before, during, and after shoveling to maintain your energy levels.
  12. Know Your Limits: If you have any health concerns or if the snow is heavy, consider seeking help or using a snow blower for larger areas.

Remember, safety is the top priority when shoveling snow. If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, or any signs of a medical emergency, stop immediately and seek medical attention. If possible, consult with a healthcare professional before engaging in strenuous physical activities, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions.

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