Shoveling is strenuous work, especially for the heart and the back.
Lifting and twisting is the most common way people get hurt, and this is how most people shovel. Twisting puts pressure on discs. The further the twisting to one side, the more pressure is put on the discs. Pressure increases because you combine:
- upper body weight,
- weight on end of shovel which is an armís length away, and
- additional pressure on discs from twisting.
- Think about where you are, how youíre going to shovel, and where youíre going to dump the load.
- Make sure you have solid footing and establish a wide base of support with legs apart, knees bent, and back straight.
- Place leading foot close to shovel and weight on leading foot. Use leg to push shovel. Load shovel moderately. Shoveling is not a competition!
- Choke down on shovel to keep weight closer.
- Remember to bend the knees so you can use your legs to support part of the weight. Firm your abdominal muscles. Lift with your legs, not your back. Keep your back straight, and remain as vertical as possible.
- Pivot instead of twisting. Allow your feet and hips to follow the trunk rotation.
- If throwing material to the left:
- Left foot is forward with feet well separated.
- Load shovel moderately and pull load in close.
- Keep right foot planted.
- Move left foot back and to the left, the direction you are throwing material.
- The reverse is true when throwing material to the right:
- Right foot forward.
- Left foot planted.
- Move right foot back and to the right.
- If itís too far to throw comfortably, walk to where you want to dump it. Holding a shovelful with outstretched arms puts too much weight on your spine.