There is no denying the beauty of freshly fallen snow on the Central Oregon landscape, but along with the winter wonderland comes the chore of shoveling snow. It’s important to remember that clearing snow can result in back and shoulder injuries since it combines heavy lifting and cold weather. Here are some tips to stay safe and prevent injuries.

Dress appropriately

Wear appropriate footwear with slip-resistant soles and keep an eye on the ground to watch for icy spots. Prepare for an aerobic workout by wearing layers of clothing that have ventilation, insulation, and will keep you dry. Don’t forget a hat, gloves or mittens, and warm socks.

Warm up your muscles

Shoveling can be hard work, warm up your muscles for a few minutes before you start. A simple routine that hits the major muscle groups you use includes squats, arm circles, gentle neck stretches, torso rotation, and hamstring stretches. 

Choose the right equipment

There are many types of snow shovels available now, and finding the right model can make clearing snow easier, as well as help prevent injuries. Lighter weight materials mean easier lifting. A good quality shovel should also be rigid and have a steel edge to clear icy snow. Dealing with a handle that is too short or too long can also lead to injuries. Holding one hand close to the scoop will make the load feel lighter.

Proper technique

Squat with your legs bent, shoulder width apart, and do the lifting with your legs, not your back. Do not bend at the waist. Dump the snow in the direction you are facing, do not twist or throw the snow over one shoulder. Take breaks often so you don’t get too tired to use proper form. If you feel back pain or arm pain after shoveling, you are probably not using good form.

Shovel early and often

When we get a large snowstorm, avoid injury by moving small amounts of snow more frequently instead of moving large amounts of heavy, packed snow.