Snow Shoveling

Two risks with snow shoveling are: 1. Possible heart attack and 2 back problems. To lessen the chance of either of these problems, follow these suggestions.

  • Know yourself (be honest) - are you over weight, do you smoke, are you over 40 years old, has a member of your family been diagnosed with heart disease before the age of 50?If any of these things are true, talk with your physician before doing any heavy shoveling.

  • Check the snow type to determine how hard of a job this will be. Is it light blowing snow or heavy snowman-making snow?Is there an inch or less of snow or a lot of snow?Do you have a big driveway and sidewalk to shovel, or a small porch and walk to do?How much time do you have to complete the job? Based on the answers to these questions, decide if you have time to do the job for your level of health, if not, then go with other options.

  • Don’t do it, let it melt naturally

  • Borrow your neighbor’s snow thrower.

  • Hire someone or a snow plow service to do it.

  • Dress in layers of clothes so that you are warm when you get started and then don’t overheat when you body begins to warm up by working - cotton close to your skin, then wool, and finally a windbreaker type coat.

  • If you get overheated, take off some layers and or take a break.

  • Have someone at home look out periodically to see if you are ok.

  • Back problems are caused by twisting and lifting incorrectly.To prevent these problems: lift with bent knees, using your leg muscles and arms to lift the shovel.

  • Hold the shovel handle at a spot which gives you the best leverage for lifting. Push down on the handle end as you lift the heavy snow scoop end.

  • When turning to throw the snow, move your feet to turn your body, not your back.

  • Be careful of your footing; wear boots that provide a good grip.

If the area is icy, put salt or sand on the area and let it melt the ice before walking on the area.