The first snowfall of this winter broke my shovel. It was a heavy, wet snow that seemingly froze once it settled onto the ground. The plows went through the street and added to the heavy, icy snow at the end of the driveway. The snow/ice was stuck to the pavement, so I decided to try and break it by taking repeated stabs at it with my shovel…And that was the last snowfall my shovel ever saw.
The weather this week has been warm for January in Wisconsin and if you’re like me and need to get a new shovel, the time to buy one is now not right before, or even worse, during a snowstorm. It might make sense to purchase the shovel with the widest, deepest “scoop,” but that’s not necessarily the case. The greater the size of the shovel, the greater the risk of injury is because the increased amount of snow the shovel can carry can be extremely heavy. A small to medium sized shovel that is made out of plastic would be your best bet.
The number one most important rule to remember when shoveling snow is to “push and dump, don’t lift and throw.” When dumping the snow, bend at the knees with a straight back. If a monster of a snowstorm hits your town, it is easier to shovel smaller amounts of snow multiple times than waiting to do it all at once when the storm has passed. According to the Center for Research and Policy there are more than 11,000 medical emergencies each year related to shoveling snow, so it is important to take the proper precautions to keep healthy and safe. Like with any physical activity it is important to pace yourself, keep hydrated, take breaks when necessary and stretch.
It is also important to remember to keep your shovel in one piece. If the end of your driveway happens to be icy, don’t try and stab at it with your shovel like you’re drilling for oil, just walk away and take a break.