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How To Not Hurt Yourself Raking Leaves Or Shovelling Snow

Autumn is just passing and snow has been sprinkling across the GTA so here are some tips on how to perform both raking and shovelling, safely and without hurting yourself.

Note that it is advised that if you or a loved one has a heart condition, high blood pressure or are over the age of 55 to avoid shovelling snow as that can greatly increase your chances of having a heart attack. If you live alone and answered yes to the above questions, hire help! There are plenty of kids who would help out with a $5-10 incentive.


  • Get a good warm up in for your arms and legs

  • If you’ve got a big property or just a lot of surrounding trees, please take a break!

  • Don’t reach too far, short strokes are best

  • Use your glutes when picking up the pile of leaves like in a squat, don’t bend from your back

  • Form: like sweeping, core should be activated, shoulders retracted back, feet are hip length distance apart

  • Endurance-like training


  • Get a good warm up in before you put your jacket and boots on

  • Take your time & take breaks, the entire driveway doesn’t have to be done all at once

  • Don’t forget to breathe through the shovelling movement!

  • Use your legs, not your back

  • Form: back straight, legs bent, core activated, shoulders retracted, feet arm in a wider stance for the most part to level out centre of gravity

  • Power and endurance-like training

As per usual, what you do leading up to the task (so in this case, raking or shovelling) is ultimately what will prevent the injuries from happening. Raking and shovelling requires repetitive motions which can lead to repetitive stress injuries especially when your body is not equipped to perform the motion repeatedly. Visit one of our MECH Fitness Classes as they practice functional mechanics with proper form that will help you efficiently produce force and age gracefully with less aches and injuries (for all athletic and non-athletic individuals).

Jeannette Quach

Certified Athletic Therapist, Registered Massage Therapist

Please direct any questions about the article or any sports/injury/motherhood questions to

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