Previously Ottawa Holistic Wellness
Shovelling your way through winter: Tips on how to do it right!

Shovelling your way through winter: Tips on how to do it right!

Winter weather has officially arrived! As the snow continues to pile up, shovelling can seem like a full-time job. Most of us have shovelled at some point in our Canadian lifetime, but many are unaware of the tiresome effects it can have on our bodies if done incorrectly.

Incorporating physical fitness into your weekly routine will help keep your body healthy and able to withstand winter tasks such as shovelling comfortably. 

Did you know that the average shovel weighs 6 pounds? That may not seem like a lot, but if loaded with snow and lifted over-and-over, the body is put under a lot of stress.

My Shovelling Snow Tips

Before you start Shovelling:

  1. Dress warmly and in layers: once your body warms up, you can quickly shed a layer.
  2. Hydrate: Even though we don’t sweat as readily, we can still get dehydrated in the winter. The cold weather causes a decreased thirst response, so remember to drink up!
  3. Active Stretching/Warm-Up: It is a good idea to warm up your body before starting. For example, take a 5-minute brisk walk around the block before embarking on your snow mountain.
  4. Don’t let the snow Pileup: The less snow you have to shovel, the better.

Proper Shovelling Techniques:

  1. Use a lightweight shovel: you want a shovel that you can push. Metal shovels are heavy, and snow tends to stick to them.
  2. Push, don’t lift! : Push the snow forward and to the sides. Trying to pick up and throw a hefty pile of snow can be dangerous.

Pushing will minimise the amount of bending and twisting your back has to do. If you must pick up the shovel, then here are some more useful shovelling snow tips:

  1. Make sure you flex your knees to take stress off your joints.
  2. Switch Sides: Switching from left to right will help prevent one-sided muscle fatigue.
  3. Take a Break: Regular breaks will prevent your body from getting too tired and avert next-day soreness.
  4. Cool Down: do a similar cool down as you did warm up. Another short walk around the block is a great idea.

Happy Shoveling!


This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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