Falling snow creates a cozy atmosphere, but life doesn’t pause for a few inches—or even a few feet—of snow. Eventually, you’ll need to leave your house. While municipal snow plows will likely be responsible for clearing snow from main roads, your driveway is your responsibility. Snow shoveling is not an easy task, and it requires more physical strength and stamina than many people realize. Read on for some tips on the best way to shovel snow without hurting yourself.   

snow shovel isolated on white background

Pick the right shovel. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the shovel options on the market today. If possible, make your purchase in person so you can try out several models before deciding.

  • The length of the handle should depend on your height. If you’re tall, choose a shovel with a longer handle to avoid bending over to fill the blade. Conversely, if you’re short, opt for a shorter-handled shovel.

  • The weight of the shovel will depend on your strength and fitness level. Snow looks weightless when it falls from the sky, but remember that it can be quite heavy. A plastic snow shovel will, of course, be significantly lighter than a metal snow shovel, but metal shovels are typically more durable and can handle a heavier load.

  • It won’t hurt to look for an ergonomic snow shovel, but keep in mind that it’s only ergonomic if it truly fits your body.

Ultimately, the best snow shovel for you may be different from the one your neighbor swears by.

Plan your route before you start. Very little is more defeating than shoveling snow for several hours only to realize that you’ve blocked in your car or created a mountain of snow in front of your home’s front door. Most experts recommend starting in the middle of the driveway, if possible, and working outward in an X shape.

man with snow shovel clearing brick sidewalk

Protect your back. Shoveling snow is hard work, and if you don’t maintain correct posture as you clear your driveway, you could seriously damage your back.

  • Try to push the snow rather than lifting it to avoid unnecessary strain.

  • Don’t bend at your waist; instead, bend your knees to squat, and use the strength of your legs to lift the shovel.

  • Engage your core muscles to help keep your spine neutral, and don’t forget to breathe.

  • Clear the snow layer by layer to lessen the weight of each shovel load.

Removing the snow may take a little longer this way, but you’ll be much less likely to be in pain at the end of the day.

Don’t try to do it all at once. Take breaks as often as you need them, and remember to drink plenty of water. Treat snow shoveling just as you would any other form of exercise. Dress appropriately, and warm up before you begin.

Snow shoveling may not be your favorite winter task, but with the proper tools and technique, it can be a much more enjoyable experience. Look for a snow shovel well in advance of any winter storms to ensure that you have a good selection to choose from, and follow our tips above. Before you know it, you’ll have a clear driveway, and you won’t be tied to the couch in pain.

View Local Driveway Companies