Table of Contents

Today’s blog is dedicated to showing you how to shovel snow without hurting your back, neck, or shoulder or causing a compression fracture.  The video below covers the do’s and don’ts of how to shovel snow and avoid one of those unfortunate events.

Later in the post, I describe how to do a safe squat—a movement you use when you shovel snow—and an important bone-building exercise. Finally, I cover how to avoid a slip and fall while navigating the snow and ice.

In the video above, I demonstrate how to shovel snow safely. Follow these steps:

  • Push the snow with your legs.
  • Maintain perfect posture and keep your spine in a neutral position.
  • If you are tall, consider an ergonomic snow shovel. This type of shovel will help you to not hunch over the shovel.
  • A straight handled snow shovel works well if you are short. However, be attentive to your posture when using a short shovel.
  • Limit how much you rotate or twist your body when clearing the snow.
  • Point your feet in the direction you are pushing the snow.
  • Lift the snow by engaging in a proper squat.
  • Maintain a wide stance and bend from your hips and knees.
  • Keep your elbows by your side when lifting the snow.
  • Move your front foot in the direction you plan to throw the snow.
  • Use your legs and trunk to assist in the toss, rather than just your arms.
  • Be safe, and enjoy the snow.
shovel snow

Exercise Recommendations for Osteoporosis

Exercise is an essential ingredient to bone health. If you have osteoporosis, therapeutic exercise needs to be part of your osteoporosis treatment program.

But what exercises should you do and which ones should you avoid? What exercises build bone and which ones reduce your chance of a fracture? Is Yoga good for your bones? Who should you trust when it comes to exercises for osteoporosis?

A great resource on exercise and osteoporosis is my free, seven day email course called Exercise Recommendations for Osteoporosis. After you provide your email address, you will receive seven consecutive online educational videos on bone health — one lesson each day. You can look at the videos at anytime and as often as you like.

I cover important topics related to osteoporosis exercise including:

  • Can exercise reverse osteoporosis?
  • Stop the stoop — how to avoid kyphosis and rounded shoulders.
  • Key components of an osteoporosis exercise program.
  • Key principles of bone building.
  • Exercises you should avoid if you have osteoporosis.
  • Yoga and osteoporosis — should you practice yoga if you have osteoporosis?
  • Core strength and osteoporosis — why is core strength important if you have osteoporosis?

Enter your email address and I will start you on this free course. I do not SPAM or share your email address (or any information) with third parties. You can unsubscribe from my mail list at any time.

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This Exercise Helps You Shovel Snow Safety

Make the squat exercise a regular part of your exercise program to keep you in shape and ready to shovel snow or gravel. There are several types of squat exercises (they vary depending on your prescribed exercise level) in the Exercise for Better Bones program.

When you purchase your Exercise for Better Bones program, you not only receive your osteoporosis exercise program, you also receive an e-book with many of the activities of daily living that you should modify.  The ebook contains clear and easy-to-follow pictures and illustrations.

The MelioGuide Activities of Daily Living cover common chores like cleaning the house, yard work, using the washer and dryer, grooming, and many more. Consider it the complete checklist for someone with osteoporosis, osteopenia, or low bone density.


Maintain Your Balance and Grip When You Shovel Snow

Good balance is essential to reduce your chance of a fall inside and outside your home. I encourage you to improve your balance with my balance and fall prevention exercises and to review my balance guide.

It is important that your footwear provides adequate grip while you are out in the snow and ice. I wrote a blog post on ice cleats for boots that you should review.

balance exercises for fall prevention

Activities of Daily Living

Visit my page dedicated to Activities of Daily Living.


February 18, 2011 at 8:01am

Melissa Lang, PT

Thanks for this video Margaret. I live in the North Simcoe Muskoka region so this is particularly helpful! I will recommend this to my clients.

February 19, 2011 at 8:50pm

Richard Martin replies

You welcome Melissa. I took advantage of the mild weather since many of my own clients ask me about safe snow shoveling. Hope our shoveling for the season is almost over!

January 10, 2020 at 10:10pm

Tricia Jeske

Thanks Margaret. We in the wet West Coast usually have extremely heavy (weight wise) snow. Definitely not the light fluffy snow I recall when living in Norther Ontario. Your clip is a great reminder how not to abuse our bodies particularly our spines. . I really loved the turkey video. Wish my sister had seen it prior to removing a casserole from the oven. Oops - as it landed face down on the floor. So glad it wasn't the turkey! Thank you, Tricia, Vancouver BC

January 12, 2020 at 5:55pm

Margaret Martin replies

Hi Tricia, Your welcome! Good to hear from someone from Vancouver. I lived there in 1986. Loved it!!
I wish we always had the light fluffy snow here in Ottawa, lately it has been a mixture of everything. I am just in from 2 hours of shovelling what felt like sand and scraping ice. Another tip I forgot for heavy snow was to snow push the shovel evenly in from of you using both hands! Alternate sides when it comes to the final lift. Take frequent breaks. I alternated pushing the snow for 10 minutes and scraping down the next layer of now ice for 10 minutes. It gave my body breaks by changing the demands of each.
Sorry about your sister's casserole. Hope everyone was alright and only the casserole suffered. :)
All the best in 2020.

January 12, 2021 at 12:21pm

donna linc

I shovel horse poop year around so this was extremely helpful for me as well! Thank you!

January 12, 2021 at 12:51pm

Richard Martin replies

Thank you for sharing that.

January 22, 2022 at 3:30pm

Nancy Newman

Appreciate this reminder about how to shovel snow, but what about shoveling long narrow spaces like a side walk? It seems hard to always keep ones feet facing where the snow is going. Do you recommend lifting the snow, then turning your whole body to face where you plan to dump the snow, and then dumping it? (I'm getting lots of opportunities to practice my form lately here in Minnesota!)