While we’ve been lucky so far this season, soon we will have to deal with shovelling snow. Here are some tips to make it easy on you and your body:

Choose a shovel that’s right for you:

  • A shovel that’s long enough that you can hold comfortably when you have a slight bend in your knees at the start of the shovel stroke.
  • A bent-handled shovel can reduce bending compared to a straight-handled shovel.
  • A shovel blade that is plastic instead of metal is lighter, and will reduce strain on your spine.
  • Sometimes smaller is better-if you have a big shovel, you are going to lift larger amounts of snow and this may be too heavy for your body.

Use proper technique

  • Grip the shove with your hands at least 12 inches apart, and keep one hand close to the base of the shovel. You will have increased leverage with your hands positioned further apart.
  • Lift with your legs-squat with your legs hip width apart. Don’t bend at the waist.
  • If you are walking with shovels full of snow, keep your arms close to your body. This puts less strain on your shoulders and spine.

Take Care of Your Body

  • Clear heavy snow in two stages, shovel off the top layer, and then remove the bottom layer.
  • Take frequent breaks, stand up straight and walk around for a minute to bring your spine back to normal position.
  • If you find yourself breathless enough that you can’t speak clearly, or have a conversation with someone, you need to take a short rest, or decrease your shovelling intensity.

If you are continuing to have pain after shovelling, or can’t shovel because of pain or stiffness, consider booking an appointment for an assessment. We take the time to assess you, treat you, make a recovery plan, and educate you regarding your injury or limitations. We can help you return to one of our winter past-times!


The staff at Pursuit Physiotherapy wishes you a Merry Christmas, and best wishes for the New Year.  We will be open over the holiday season to help you.  December 21-23, December 28-30.