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Safety tips for shoveling snow


Shoveling snow is a strenuous activity that is very stressful on the heart and back. Safe snow shoveling requires proper preparation, the right tools, good technique and knowledge. Here are some tips to protect your health when shoveling snow.

Be Prepared:

  • Talk to your doctor about this activity and your health status before winter season arrives.
  • Consider hiring a student or using a volunteer service if you are a senior or if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol levels.
  • Get the right tools for the job:
    • a sturdy yet lightweight shovel is best.ergonomic_shovel1
    • an ergonomically correct model (curved handle) will help prevent injury and fatigue.
    • spray the blade with a silicone-based lubricant (snow does not stick and slides off).

Before you start:

  • Wait 1-2 hours after eating.
  • Avoid caffeine and nicotine.
  • Dress for the weather! Wear layers and cover as much skin as possible. Wear boots to prevent slipping.
  • Warm up! (walk or march in place for several minutes before beginning).

When shoveling, remember to:

  • Start slow and continue at a slow pace (Suggestion: shovel for 5-7 minutes and rest 2-3 minutes).
  • Drink lots of water to prevent dehydration.
  • Shovel early and often:
  • new snow is lighter than heavily packed/partially melted snow
  • take frequent breaks

Protect your back! Lift properly and safely:

  • stand with feet at hip width for balance
  • hold the shovel close to your body
  • space hands apart to increase leverage
  • bend from your knees not your back
  • tighten your stomach muscles while lifting
  • avoid twisting while lifting
  • walk to dump snow rather than throwing it
  • When snow is deep, shovel small amounts (1-2 inches at a time) at a time.
  • If the ground is icy or slippery, spread salt, sand or kitty litter to create better foot traction.


The practitioners are CIHS Clinic are committed to providing optimal health care for you and you family through a variety of services and treatments. Our clinic offers physiotherapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy, custom orthotic inserts and shoes, and compression hosiery. For more information, please call 647-350-2447. Appointments can be made over the phone or on our website.

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