Excited about the newest snow storm headed our way? Neither are we. Despite our attitude, the snow will pile up and need to be shoveled. But did you know that shoveling snow leads to more than 11,000 adults and children being sent to the hospital every year?
Here are 5 tips to ensure safer shoveling.
1. Monitor yourself: Notice if you experience any pain, shortness of breath or otherwise alarming symptoms. Shoveling may become dangerous for those who are not physically fit since it can cause a sudden increase in blood pressure and heart rate that could potentially lead to a heart attack.
2. Time for a new shovel? Adapting a shovel so that the pole is longer, adjustable, and curved can decrease the amount of bending needed, researchers say. Studies have shown that curved-shaft shovels can help lower your risk of muscle injury. More user-friendly shovels are becoming available and are typically made of lighter materials such as plastic or lightweight aluminum.
3. Don’t throw snow. The twisting motion of throwing snow over your shoulder or to the side can hurt your back. Try pushing the snow out of the way instead of lifting it up.
4. Take your time. You might want to warm up with some light exercise first. Pacing yourself and taking frequent breaks is also a smart bet.
5. Watch those kids. As tempting as it might be to let the kids do the hard work, be careful that they know shovels are not toys and be careful not to hurt anyone with it.