SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Here comes more than enough snow, according to KELOLAND Weather.

Are you prepared to shovel?

The best time to prepare would have been several months ago, said Kory Zimney, an associated professor in the physical therapy department at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion.

“One of the biggest challenges to safely shoveling snow is we haven’t done that high level of activity since March of last year,” Zimney said.

Ideally, individuals would have been working out and preparing to move snow at least as recently as August, said Zimney.

But don’t be discouraged, Zimney and Mackenzie Feldhacker, an assistant professor in the occupational therapy program at USD, have some advice for those who may not be best prepared for the predicted 4 to 6 inches of snow forecast on Thursday for Friday.


Zimney said individuals must still prepare which means get good sleep the night before shoveling and plan to wake up in time to shovel. If you need to shovel before work, give yourself plenty of time, Zimney said.

Plan for shoveling to take some time in order to do it safely, Zimney and Feldhacker said.

Don’t just pop from bed and head out to shovel, Feldhacker advises.

“You can do some light warm-ups and prepping activity,” Feldhacker said. “Walking in place or stretching.”

It’s also important to dress properly including gloves, she said. Those shoveling will also want to stay hydrated.

Again, time is critical.

Don’t plan on shoveling as fast as you can.

“You aren’t in condition to take the heavy load first,” Zimney said. Start with small shovel loads and work into some heavier scoop loads, he said.

“Pace yourself,” Zimney said.

It’s important to take breaks.

And to avoid overworking one side of your body, switch how you hold the shovel as in shovel with the left side and then the right side, he said.

Feldhacker said the right tools can also help.


Individuals can consider using a shovel with a cushioned handle.

Shovels with an ergonomic design such as a bent handle can also be helpful, she said.

“So, you can avoid bending so much,” Feldhacker said.

A bent handle or a longer handled shovel can prevent the user from bending too much or bending too far forward too much.

People can also consider using a plastic shovel. A plastic shovel will be lighter than a metal shovel, Feldhacker said.

Those shoveling can also consider pushing more snow than they can lift from a sidewalk or driveway, Feldhacker said.

While tomorrow’s snowstorm is expected to start at 6 a.m., if there is a chance to small amounts of snow before the morning, that could be a good idea.

“If you can catch some snow earlier that’s good. The longer it sits, the heavier it gets,” Feldhacker said.

“If it’s not blowing real hard you can get out and shovel (do it),” Zimney said. “You don’t want to do eight inches if you can shovel two inches and then go out and shovel two more…”