As people prepare for winter weather care should be taken to guard ones health while shoveling snow. Snow shoveling can be taxing on a seemingly healthy body and should be done with extreme caution.
In addition to slipping and falling on ice underneath of a snow fall snow shovelers can open themselves up for other injuries. Injuries from snow shovels themselves can send someone to the hospital emergency room and often require a few sutures to repair an injured finger or toe.
Persons over the age of 40 should use extreme caution when shoveling snow. A seemingly healthy adult should remember that lifting that shovel full of snow repeatedly can cause injury to muscles not often used.
Those who suffer from heart conditions should be particularly cautious when shoveling snow. Just 15 minutes of snow shoveling is equal to 30 minutes of moderate physical activity. In persons with heart conditions this could mean the difference between life and death. Strokes and heart attacks are the second most common reason that people are sent to the emergency rooms during snow storms.
Anyone who has already had a heart attack, has a history of heart disease, has high blood pressure, has high cholesterol, lives a sedentary lifestyle or even smokes should approach snow shoveling with extreme caution, or find a teen or youth willing to help out.
Back injury is another common health risk of shoveling snow. Using the wrong muscles can cause great pain or send someone to the hospital. It’s very important to stretch those muscles and warm your body up prior to snow shoveling to prevent injury. You wouldn’t start out with aerobic exercise without a warm up time period so never start shoveling snow without a good stretch and warm up period. If you’ve been given back exercises from previous back injuries make sure that you’ve continued doing your exercises in order to prevent further damage to your back.
Choose your equipment wisely. Yes, a larger snow shovel may get the job done quicker, but consider an average snow shovel can hold up to 16 pounds of snow, multiply that by how many shovel fulls of snow one moves and it can really add up fast. Using a smaller shovel and moving the snow where it’s needed most will reduce possible injury to your entire body.
Cold weather can dehydrate the human body quickly. Make sure to stay hydrated and take breaks frequently. Take a break every 10 or 15 minutes and sip some water. Warm up those cold hands and your feet if needed. The snow will still be there when you return with your shovel.
Push the snow if you can instead of shoveling it. We’ve all seen store owners pushing snow away from the entrance to a store. It’s much easier on your body and still gets the job done.
If snow shoveling is too much of a risk for your health consider paying the neighbor youth a few dollars each time it snows to shovel your walks or drive way. It may just save your life.