Avoid back pain with snow shoveling.

Low back injuries are very common with snow shoveling, especially after the first big snowfall of the year. But if done properly, it can actually be a good workout. Think about the these tips next time you are out shoveling to avoid injury.

Warm up and start slow: Don’t go in cold and lift heavy loads right away. Start by walking and pushing the snow to warm up a bit. Then lift lighter shovelfuls before progressing to heavy ones.

Push the snow rather than lift (as much as possible).

Keep a wide stance: When you go to lift, keep your feet at least shoulder width apart.

Squat– don’t bend with your back: Instead of bending forwards to scoop up snow, use your hips and knees to lower yourself. Think more of a ‘squatting’ or ‘sitting’ motion, and less of a bending forwards.

Use a wide grip– Hold one hand closer to the blade of the shovel.

Hold the load closer to your body: Avoid reaching with a heavy shovelful.

Engage your core: Tighten your abdominal muscles as you go to lift. Imagine you are bracing yourself from getting hit in the stomach. That will help to protect the back from straining.

Avoid twisting while lifting.

Avoid throwing the snow: Try to walk over and dump the snow instead of throwing it.

Enjoy the snow!