Snow Shoveling Safety Tips

Love it or hate it, it appears that winter weather is finally here. It’s time to replace the rake with the snow shovel and get ready for what the season has in store for us. For many, shoveling snow can be a daunting task, and with predictions of heavy snowfalls this season it is important to be mindful when shoveling to help avoid injury.

Shoveling after a storm doesn’t have to leave you stiff and sore. Here are some tips to consider before picking up the shovel:


  • ***It is important to warm up for 5-10 minutes prior to any shoveling. This will increase blood circulation and get the joints moving, and will serve to decrease the risk of injury. A brisk walk should do it.
  • Drink plenty of water. Hydration is just as important in the winter as it is in the summer.
  • Wear several layers of clothing so you can remove a layer as you get warm.
  • Wear proper footwear. Boots with good support and solid treads can help decrease the risk of slips and falls.
  • Pick the right shovel. Use a lightweight, non-stick, push-style shovel. An ergonomically correct model (curved handle) will help prevent injury and fatigue. Pro tip: if you spray the blade with a silicone-based lubricant, the snow will slide off more easily.

Let’s Shovel!


  • Push the snow to one side and avoid throwing it. If you need to throw it, avoid twisting and turning – simply position yourself to throw straight in front of you.


  • Bend your knees and engage the muscles in your legs/ buttocks, making sure that the leg and arm muscles do the work and not your back. Keep your back straight while shoveling and tighten the core to brace the low back before every push.

Happy shoveling!

Dr. Geoffrey Johnston