Snow Shoveling 101: How to Avoid Injuries This Year

A 17-year study found that 11,500 people make a trip to the emergency room every year for snow shoveling-related injuries. These injuries include soft-tissue damage, broken bones and even heart attacks. In fact, the cold temperatures and the physical exertion necessary during snow shoveling can even cause deaths as a result of straining too much. There are a few steps you can take to remove snow in a safe manner.

Don’t Do It at All if You Have a Risk for Heart Conditions

Anyone who has a heart condition should not shovel snow. If you are currently seeing a cardiologist, chances are good you should consider hiring a professional to help you clean the driveway instead. Additionally, all individuals should learn what the symptoms of a heart attack are to ensure you get the right care should something happen.

Push Snow Instead of Lifting It
Sliding your shovel along the driveway side-to-side allows you to remove the snow pretty easily. It also eliminates the most common cause of back strain from snow shoveling – lifting. By avoiding scooping it up, you can reduce the amount of strain on your hips, joints and muscles. When lifting is necessary, stand with your feet aligned with your hips. Keep your back straight, knees bent.

Shovel More Often
If you know it’s going to snow for hours or days, don’t wait to get the work done. Instead, head out and shovel the snow every couple of hours. Take breaks throughout the process. The cold temperatures are sure to make your heart race faster than it normally does.

Use the Right Tools
Using a snow blower is an excellent way to minimize the workload. However, when you have to shovel, choose the right shovel. Look for an ergonomically designed model. These help to reduce the weight load and are better for your back. You are not likely to bend as much. Also, look for a plastic snow shovel. There is no benefit to a heavy metal shovel.

Removing Snow from Your Car
To clean snow off a car safely, use the car to its best abilities with both front and rear defrosters on. Don’t pour hot water on the windshield as this can cause the glass to crack. Deicing sprays work well, but you also need to invest in a quality windshield scraper.

Stay Hydrated and Warm
Staying warm means protecting every surface of your body. Keep your face and hands covered. Wear layers you can easily remove if you get too hot. Stay hydrated. You may not think much about drinking water here, but this is an intense workout, and your body needs it.

When it comes down to it, snow shoveling can be downright difficult. You don’t want to suffer injuries, but you also do not want a liability case on your hands if someone falls. If you cannot remove the snow safely, hire a professional to help you.