Are you someone who dreads the winter because of your long, snow-covered, slippery, labour intensive driveway? Living rurally sure is nice, but the downside is winter maintenance. After a long day, you just want to pull in your driveway and quickly get inside, make a nice hot cup of tea, and relax. With these easy tips, you can do just that and not worry about slipping or getting stuck in your own driveway!
1. Dress In Layers!
This may seem obvious, but it’s important to stay warm and limit your risk of frostbite. We know, it’s a daunting task to dress in layers when you’re just going to shovel your own driveway, even if it’s just for ten to 15 minutes, but keeping your vital organs warm will effectively insulate your body and prevent frostbite and cramping.
Did you know, most of our body heat escapes through our heads?
Make sure you’re wearing a warm hat and even wear earmuffs on top of that! And whether you prefer wearing mittens or gloves, that’s up to you, but if they still have a tendency to get cold, you can buy hand and foot warmers. There are a few different kinds of hand warmers to choose from, but you can buy a package of ten HOTHANDS air-activated hand warmers from Wal-Mart for under $10.
2. Do Some Warm-Ups
No, we’re not kidding! Stretching before shoveling can help increase your mobility, warm you up and prevent injury, particularly in your back, shoulders and knees.
Good warm-up stretches include:
- Torso rotation
Slowly turn your torse from left to right with your hands on your hips to warm up your core.
- Doorway stretch
Rest your forearms on a door frame and slightly lean forward and hold for 20-30 seconds. You should feel a stretch in your chest and shoulders.
- Forward bend
Bend over from your hips while keeping your legs straightened and touch your toes for 20-30 seconds. If you can’t bend like that, stand with one arm supporting yourself against a wall and bend your knee and grab your leg with your other arm for the same amount of time. Then switch sides.
- Cat/cow stretch
This is a common stretch for yoga enthusiasts. Get on your hands and knees and keep your back straight, then slowly round your back up (like a cat) for five seconds, then arch your back and lift your neck up for five seconds. Repeat ten times (or more if you makes you feel really good!).
3. Buy An Ergonomic Shovel/Snow Pusher
Or buy two! If your driveway is really long, maybe it’s best to tag-team it. Ergonomically-friendly shovels are specifically designed to take the stress off your lower back and knees with its bent handle and snow-pushing abilities, so you don’t have to worry about trying to lift all the heavy snow and throwing it out of the way. If you do have to lift the snow, lift with your legs, not your back. This doesn’t mean you should work quicker – take your time. We know you want to hurry up and get back inside where it’s warm, but the slower you go the less likely you are to injure yourself or pull a muscle. One of the top-rated ergonomic shovels on Amazon is the Ames Companies True Temper SnoBoss Snow Shovel.
Helpful tip: Spray your snow shovel with cooking oil first to stop snow from sticking to it.
4. Large Clearing-Width Snow Blower
Yes, the larger the width clearance, the larger the snowblower will be and it may be a bit pricey, but it will drastically help cut your labour in half and last you for years to come. Before you’re about to clear your driveway, ensure it has gas in it so you won’t be surprised mid-job! Amazon will likely carry a 45” clearing width.
5. Mount A Plow To Your Truck
If you own a truck, the easiest option would definitely be to invest in a plow to attach to the front of your truck. They’re made to attach to any truck, whether you own a Dodge Ram, Ford, Chevy, etc., but it’s best to ask a professional which plow will fit the best. They’re sold at Canadian Tire and are definitely pricey, but once you purchase one of those bad boys, you won’t have to worry about ever purchasing another shovel or snow blower again!
Having a long driveway in the winter can definitely be a tough task to tackle, but if you stretch, dress properly, and purchase the proper equipment, you should have your driveway cleared in no time. If you’re not up for spending the money on the equipment, there are plenty of snow removal services out there that will be more than willing to assist you.