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How to Shovel Snow: Useful Tips



by Bryan Mckenzie


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Residents of areas that are covered with a thick layer of snow regularly clean their yards from snowdrifts in winter. However, not everyone does it right. When you wake up in the morning and find that everything is covered with snow, you just want to solve this problem as soon as possible. However, the correct way to shovel snow requires a little preparation and thoughtful action. Incorrect shoveling technique is not only less effective but also can lead to health problems. There are many nuances that you might not pay attention to. Learn how to shovel snow properly by reading my simple recommendations.

How to Safely Shovel Snow

  1. Wear warm clothes and non-slip shoes.
  2. Choose a light and durable shovel with a long handle.
  3. Remove snow after a snowstorm.
  4. Make a pile of collected snow nearby.
  5. Clear deep snow drifts in stages, in small batches.
  6. Keep your spine straight and place your feet shoulder-width apart.
  7. Try to push the snow instead of lifting it if possible.

Step-by-Step Snow Shoveling Guide

Shoveling the driveway is difficult and boring. Think positively: Moderate exercise and fresh air are good for health. Compliance with all the rules will help you easily cope with this routine task.

Human shovels snow with orange shovel

1. Clothes for work

Select clothes that will protect your body from the wind and cold but keep in mind that you can sweat when you start working. Therefore, the best option would be thermal underwear and several layers of comfortable light clothing that can be removed if you get too hot. If the air temperature is low enough, do not forget a hat. Gloves or mittens will not only protect your hands from the cold but also save your skin from chafing. Put on warm socks. Choose comfortable shoes that won’t get wet or slip.

2. Shovel selection

Choose a lightweight but strong enough shovel. The handle of the tool should not be too short. It is best that it reaches the level of your chest. Plastic options are less durable, but they are lighter. Metal shovels can also damage pavers and bricks.

Many experts recommend ergonomic shovels with a curved handle that allows you to bend less. If the snow is light, you can use a pushing option. This is one of the best ways to shovel snow.

Body position

Proper body position and movement minimize the risk of injury and reduce strain.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart to reduce the risk of losing balance.
  2. When you lift the shovel with snow, do not bend your back, but sit down slightly with your knees bent.
  3. Frequent twisting of the torso can also cause pain the next day. So turn your feet in the direction you are throwing the snow.
  4. Do not hold the shovel away from the body, as this will cause fatigue more quickly.
  5. Throwing snow over your shoulder can cause injury.

Body position while snow shoveling

4. Sequencing

Don’t put off snow removal. It is best to shovel the fallen snow immediately, in the morning or in the evening. Fresh snow is easier to remove, as it has a lower density than old snowdrifts. If the snowfall has not ended yet, go outside several times a day to clear the paths.

  1. Sprinkle slippery surfaces with salt. Keep in mind that rock salt destroys concrete pavement. In this case, it is better to use sand or calcium chloride.
  2. If you can get to the car, remove the snow from its surface so that you don’t have to clean the driveway twice. You can also carefully knock the snow off the bushes so that the branches do not break off from the weight.
  3. To clear the sidewalks and driveway, clear the middle of the path and then push the snow on each side of the center cleared path.
  4. Work at an average pace. Do not try to remove deep snow drifts several times. Remove each layer of snow in stages, raking a small amount at a time.
  5. If the snow drifts are thick and dense enough, shuffle snow with the blade of your shovel. Then push or lift the fluffy snow.
  6. If possible, choose a convenient place near your house where you will carry the snow. Also, make sure that the pile of cleared snow neither blocks the entrances nor requires a second move.

Shovel Snow

Life hacks

  • To prevent snow from sticking to your tool and sliding off easily, spray your shovel with silicone grease or vegetable oil before cleaning. The blade of a shovel can also be smeared with a candle or floor wax, grease, and vegetable oil.
  • If you warm up your muscles before shoveling, they will become less prone to injury. Do light gymnastics before going outside, paying special attention to stretching.
  • You can remove huge piles of snow not only with a regular shovel but also using a sleigh shovel. Such a tool is similar to a sled, it scoops up a lot of snow, which you don’t need to lift, but you just have to “drive” it to the heap. It is suitable for deep snow drifts.

Precautionary measures

  • Do not take on a physically demanding activity such as snow removal if you have health problems, especially heart disease.
  • If you feel great, don’t neglect your health either. Take rest breaks every 10-15 minutes, and drink water to stay hydrated.
  • If you experience pain, stop cleaning. Keep your phone nearby so that you can call for medical help in case of an injury.

Shovel snow with shovel

FAQ on Safe Shoveling

The main thing in snow removal is your safety. Read the answers to important questions so as not to harm your health.

What’s the safest way to shovel snow?

Start shoveling only if you do not have heart disease. Do not drink coffee and alcohol or smoke before work. Dress warmly and choose shoes that don’t slip or get wet. Take frequent rest breaks and stop clearing if you feel pain.

When should I start shoveling?

Many people shovel snow in the morning. However, do not grab a shovel immediately after waking up. The spinal discs are too hydrated at this time, and the chance of damage is very high. First, have a light breakfast and warm up your muscles.

Do not delay with snow removal: It is better to remove it in small batches but more often than to shovel huge heavy snow drifts later.

How often should you take a break when shoveling snow?

Take small breaks every 10-15 minutes. At this time, take a walk, stretch your muscles, and drink water or hot cocoa. If you work at an average pace, you will lift approximately 2000 pounds of snow in 10 minutes, which is a significant strain on the body.

Remove Snow Like a Pro

The effects of snow storms can bring you trouble, the smallest of which is shoveling. It is worth preparing for the winter in advance. For many, shoveling seems like a simple matter, but following these recommendations makes the process more efficient and easier. Keep in mind that the cleanliness of the yard is important, but your health comes first. Therefore, hire someone to remove the snowdrifts or buy a snow blower if your doctor says “no” to intense exercise.

How often do you have to shovel snow in winter? Leave your comments below this post!

Also Read:


  • 10 Biggest Snowstorms of All Time | Howstuffworks –
  • How to Stretch Before Exercising – wiki How –
Bryan Mckenzie
Hi there — my name is Bryan McKenzie. Before I’d got into gardening, I worked as a landscape designer at landscape design and consultation company in Jacksonville. I enjoy sharing the vast gardening experience I’ve accumulated throughout the years with like-minded green thumbs. Read more about me and my wife.
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