According to the National Safety Council, snow shoveling is responsible for thousands of injuries and even numerous deaths each year. Those are some pretty scary statistics considering many homeowners put snow shoveling into the household chore category. Despite it being a winter chore, snow shoveling is a strenuous activity that can be physically exhausting for almost anyone.
Here are some top safety tips for snow shoveling:
Shovel every couple of hours. This will help you keep up with the storm and only have to shovel a few inches at a time. Plus, shoveling fresh snow is a lot lighter than snow that has been compacted.
Dress warm, but wear clothing that is breathable. Shoveling snow is a workout. Would you wear thick wool sweaters to go run a mile? Probably not. Wear clothing that will quickly evaporate perspiration and allow you to peel off layers if you get too warm. Also, wear warm, water-proof boots with good traction to prevent cold, wet feet and slipping.
Stretch and stay hydrated. Sound familiar? The same things you do to prepare for a workout, you should be doing to prepare for snow shoveling. Stretching can help prevent injury and fatigue, and staying hydrated can help you from becoming dehydrated.
Be smart. If you’re experiencing back pain or you are out of breath, stop shoveling. Take a break, drink some water, and go inside to rest. It’s also a smart idea to keep your cell phone on you while you’re outside shoveling. Your phone will come in handy in the event of an emergency.
Help out elderly neighbors or family members. If you think shoveling snow is difficult for you, imagine how someone who doesn’t get much daily physical activity feels. Plus, shoveling can put unnecessary strain on someone with a heart condition.
Lift with your legs; not with your back. If you are stuck shoveling several inches of snow, make sure you use your legs to lift the snow. This will help in preventing a serious back injury. It’s also suggested that you push the snow to the side rather than lifting it completely. This can also help in preventing injury and fatigue.