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Most Efficient Snow Removal Techniques


Snow is one of those things I have a love-hate relationship with. It is stunning to see it stretch its white arms across the landscape, but boy, is it hard to move from the sidewalks and driveway. A few weeks ago, it dumped snow in our driveway. In a hurry, I grabbed the shovel and quickly began piling it off to the sides. After about 20 minutes of working hard, I was completely exhausted. The next morning, I woke up feeling like I got hit by a train; every bone and muscle in my body ached. Ouch! Shoveling snow is a workout, and if you do it wrong or too quickly, it can leave you in a whole lot of pain. Knowing the proper way to do it and trying a few of these tips, you can get your driveway shoveled without pain.

First, warm up and stretch. Why would you warm up before shoveling snow? Shoveling is a workout, and just like you should jog a few laps and stretch before a long run, you should warm your muscles up before shoveling. Take a couple of minutes and jog in place. Going outside in the freezing cold is going to instantly tighten your muscles and increase the risk of pulling a muscle. It doesn’t have to be a rigorous warm-up, just enough to prepare your muscles.

Once you are warm and bundled up, but not overdressed, it is time to grab the shovel. Before wildly throwing snow out of the way, devise a plan. Pick a few spots on the sides where the snow can fit. Don’t give yourself any extra work by having to shovel twice: Believe me, moving snow piles is triple the work. With several piles on the sides, you can move snow the shortest distance possible. Start by clearing any snow off of your cars and around them. To hold the shovel, place one hand tightly near the shovel blade and the other comfortably spaced behind it. Bending at the knees and using your leg muscles to do the lifting will prevent any injury to your back. Keep your back as straight as possible to keep the weight on your legs and shoulders and off of your back. Don’t twist your upper body to throw the snow, but instead, turn your entire body with gentle swings. Work as slowly or quickly as you physically can handle, and take plenty of breaks to hydrate yourself.

When the snow is cleared, grab a bag of de-icer and sprinkle a thin layer across the driveway and sidewalk. Cover your car with a professional fitted car cover or a tarp to keep the snow and ice from damaging the paint. Put the shovel away and do any maintenance needed on it for the next time it snows. When all of the heavy work is done, go inside and grab another glass of water. Before you slump down on the couch exhausted, take a couple of minutes to stretch your muscles. Alright, the work is done, and you can finally relax and go to bed – but cross your fingers it doesn’t snow while you sleep.

Read more about shoveling snow safely and efficiently with these links.

Image Courtesy of Carl Mueller (Flickr)

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