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South Dakota Survival Toolkit: Safe Shoveling

While we are getting closer to spring arriving… we do still have more snow falls yet to endure. Shoveling snow can be a grueling task, especially when it snows frequently and in large amounts, like in 2023. Shoveling also can be hard on the body; it can cause or contribute to injury of the spine and other joints. However, here are a few tips you can follow to make the job safer for your spine.


  1. Warm up your muscles: Before you start shoveling, take a few minutes to do some light stretches or exercises to warm up your muscles. This will help prevent strain and injury. Not sure where to start? Do a few gentle body weight squats, which will wake up your hips and low back.
  2. Use the right shovel: Make sure you are using a shovel that is the right size for you. A shovel that is too large or heavy can put unnecessary strain on your back. If a few extra dollars for a higher quality shovel can prevent further issues, we recommend it.
  3. Push the snow, rather than lifting it, if possible. Pushing the snow will put less strain on your back and help you avoid injury.
  4. Use good form: Keep your back straight and your core tight while shoveling. Bend at the knees as much as possible, rather than bending over at the waist. This will help to lessen unnecessary stress and strain on your spine, and lower the risk of injury.
  5. Take breaks: Shoveling snow can be a strenuous task, so make sure to take breaks every so often to give your body a chance to rest and recover.
  6. Plan effectively: Having ample time to shovel at your residence can prevent rushing the process; feeling rushed can lead to compromising good form and neglecting taking breaks.
  7. Get help: If you have a lot of snow to clear, don’t be afraid to ask for help or use a snow blower.


By following these guidelines, you can make shoveling snow a safer experience for your spine. Remember to listen to your body, and if you experience pain or discomfort, stop and seek medical attention as needed. For more information, call us at (605) 271 – 4109. We’re here to help!