Snow Clearing: Don’t Injure Yourself

Clearing snow with a shovel is hard physical work. It can burn an impressive number of calories yet the risks of physical injury should not be under-estimated. Warming up, cooling down and using the right snow-clearing equipment, like rock salt and a lightweight snow shovel, can make all the difference.

Having to clear snow and ice from around your home and sometimes even your business premises is a fact of winter. While it is a common activity – who hasn’t had to do it at some point? – it should never be under-estimated: snow clearing is a physical activity and everyone needs to take steps to avoid injuries by warming up, wearing warm clothing and appropriate footwear, and using the correct snow clearing equipment.

How Physical Is Clearing Snow?

Fat-burning and nutrition experts vary in their estimates, but shovelling snow from your driveway could burn between 300 and 600 calories an hour, depending on how much a person weighs and with how much vigour they approach this activity.

Think about the muscle groups used to clear snow: bending, stretching, lifting, throwing, repeat. If there has been very heavy snowfall, or if snow is compacted, this will affect the amount of energy you need to expend. As with any other physical activity, experts suggest warming up your body first to avoid pulling injuries.

Check out YouTube for some appropriate five-to-ten minute warm-ups to get the blood pumping to your muscles. This is especially important if you are clearing snow first thing in the morning, with a body that is sleepy.

Another important thing to remember when clearing snow is not to over-do it – avoid overloading your snow shovel and do not shovel snow for long periods: just do enough to get your vehicle off the driveway, clear a safe pedestrian path or clear the access road (with which you will hopefully have some help from neighbours). There are no prizes, unfortunately, for the neatest or most thoroughly-cleared driveway! There are, however, safety implications if you do not do it at all.

What Is The Right Equipment For Clearing Snow?

It really helps to have the right equipment on hand. A lightweight, strong plastic snow shovel with the dimensions of a garden space might help you resist the temptation to overload, and because this tool is made from a robust yet wieldy material it should help, not hinder, your efforts.

A snow shovel of this type is also handy because it will double up for rock salt distribution once you have cleared a path. It makes complete sense to have rock salt on hand for use after snow clearance. Clearing an accessible path but not using rock salt could render the surface slippery and unsafe, especially if temperatures remain low: ice may form and compacted snow is extremely perilous underfoot and tyre.

Traditional brown rock salt provides traction and has very good ice-melting properties. It will prevent ice from forming and its distinctive dark colour will let drivers and pedestrians know that the area has been treated.

De-icing salt can also be distributed via a push-along pedestrian salt spreader. These wheeled devices can really take the back-pain out of de-icing and give an even coverage of rock salt on garden paths, driveways, pavements and roads. After an hour of clearing snow, they can seem like a real blessing!