Snow Shoveling Ergonomics

There are a few things to remember when you are out in our climate removing snow. Some people have a health risk doing this activity so you should always first consult your doctor before beginning such a task. Many people who are at risk are those who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, those who have had a previous heart attack, people with family or have history with heart disease, live sedentary lives or even smokers. These people should be especially cautious.

Ergonomics are key when you are shoveling. The Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety has created guidelines for shoveling.

  • keep feet wide apart, place front foot close to shovel
  • put weight on front foot and use your leg to push the shovel
  • shift your weight to your rear foot and keep the load close to your body
  • turn your feet in the direction you are throwing the snow

Make sure to clear often in ongoing snowstorms to prevent the snow from becoming heavy in your shovel. Following these suggestions and taking frequent breaks (at least every 15 minutes) will help keep the stress off your body and give you some great exercise.