Snow Shoveling Safety
As winter approaches, so begins the snow removal season. Shoveling snow is very strenuous; just ask any cardiologist or orthopedist. Shoveling snow puts an extra strain on the heart, so if you have heart issues speak with your cardiologist before shoveling.
If you have significant osteoporosis (thinning of the bone), you shouldn’t be shoveling snow. Pay someone to shovel for you or use a snow blower. If you do use a snow blower, be cautious when operating it. Hand lacerations and finger amputations are common injuries associated with snow blower use.
The good news is that shoveling can actually be good exercise if done correctly. To avoid any sprains or strains to the back and shoulders while shoveling just follow these helpful hints:
- Warm up by stretching and doing a few exercises before shoveling.
- Dress warmly in layers.
- Use a shovel that’s comfortable for your height and strength. Don’t use a shovel that’s too heavy or long for you.
- Shovel heavy snow more frequently with lighter loads, rather than waiting until it all piles up.
- Use a long handled shovel with a curved blade, like a snow plow, to push away the snow rather than “lift and throw”.
- If you must “lift and throw” rotate your whole body to throw the snow, don’t rotate just your back.
- Drink plenty of water before, during and after shoveling (no alcohol!)
And one last precaution that is easy to take these days; keep a cell phone with you in case of a fall, injury or chest pain.