Shoveling Safety

Shoveling snow is no simple chore. Combine frosty temperatures and heavy lifting — a driveway can contain hundreds of pounds of snow — and you have a recipe for injury or worse. Each year, thousands of people seek medical care for sprains, muscle strains, and lacerations sustained during snow removal. Since shoveling raises your heart rate and blood pressure, there’s also an increased risk of heart attack. Get your doctor’s OK if you have heart disease, high cholesterol, are a smoker, or are sedentary, and those with any health concerns should hire someone to remove snow. Here are tips for staying safe:

  • Stretch before shoveling
  • Dress warmly, in loose layers
  • Start out slowly
  • Use a smaller shovel
  • Protect your back by bending from the knees
  • Avoid twisting motions
  • Move lighter loads of snow
  • Push snow instead of lifting, where possible
  • Take frequent breaks
  • Stay hydrated (with water; avoid alcohol)
  • Stop if you feel pain
  • Allow plenty of time to finish.

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