Shoveling your driveway and sidewalks after a snowstorm is not only an annoying household chore; it also means taking on more than your body might handle. That means experiencing aches, pains, and other issues during or after shoveling. In some cases, your body can get harmed while shoveling to the point of experiencing serious health issues such as heart attacks.
This is in consideration that physical exertion combined with cold temperatures can lead to increased workload on the heart, hence an increased risk of a heart attack. The American Heart Association suggests that even trying to walk through heavy, wet snow is enough to put a strain on your heart.
But does that mean that snow shoveling should be avoided? No, that’s not the case. You can remove snow from the driveway and sidewalks, but be sure to take the following safety tips into consideration:
1. Warm Up
Warming your muscles before heading out will go a long way in reducing the risk of injury during snow removal. You can warm up by doing some light movements such as stretching your back, arms, and legs to ensure more comfort during and after shoveling.
2. Dress in layers
You should dress up in layers, while also opting for a water-resistant coat and boots. Be sure to cover yourself up as much as you can, to protect yourself from the cold. You can always remove a layer if you feel uncomfortably warm.
3. Be a good neighbor
As long as you use the right technique and stay as warm as possible, snow shoveling can be a very good workout. If you are healthy enough and have elderly, disabled, or ailing neighbors, you can volunteer to offer them a helping hand.
4. Play it safe
If you have ever suffered a heart condition in the past or you have a disability or any other condition that may increase the risk of injury or death while snow shoveling, seek alternatives. You can always ask for help from a neighbor or family member. Hiring a snow removal service is also a great idea if you don’t want to remove the snow yourself for whatever reasons.
5. Reduce the load
Using a plastic shovel instead of a metallic one can significantly reduce the load being lifted. This is a good thing as you will avoid putting unnecessary strain on your heart. A shovel like this 22″ bully tools shovel from Home Depot would be ideal!
6. Keep up with the snow
If heavy snowfall is in the forecast, be sure to shovel snow from your property as soon as it falls as this is when it’s fluffy and light. Letting snow stay long on the ground can make it wet and heavy, requiring more effort to move – don’t let it get to that point.
7. Consider multiple trips
To avoid having to move a huge amount of snow at once, you may want to shovel once in a while throughout the storm. This prevents the accumulation of snow over time.
8. Push, avoid lifting
The best snow shoveling method is pushing it instead of scooping it up and putting it aside. If you have to lift the snow, be sure to utilize the right technique. Your feet should be at a hip-width distance apart, and the back should be straight. Avoid twisting your back so as to throw the snow behind you.
9. Take plenty of water
Don’t assume that it’s cold out there so it’s not necessary to take water. Water is still lost from the body as you work during even when it’s cold. Staying hydrated when snow shoveling is very important.
10. Listen to
This is the most important tip to consider when shoveling. If you feel like something is not normal or you’re exhausted, don’t strain yourself. You should also avoid alcohol as it can make it hard to know when you’re straining.