Since I grew up shoveling a very long driveway, I appreciate the fact that when I come home after a very blizzardy day to my quant apartment, I’m not responsible for shoveling the driveway. No more waking up in the morning with all of my muscles hurting, freezing out in the cold or having snow frozen in my hair for hours from my brothers lovingly dumping their shovels full of snow on me. But not everyone is lucky enough to have a snow shoveling landlord.
Did you know?
· Just 15 minutes of snow shoveling is equal to 30 minutes of moderate physical activity.
o Strokes and heart attacks are the second most common reason that people are sent to the emergency rooms during snow storms. Anyone who has already had a heart attack, has a history of heart disease, has high blood pressure has high cholesterol, lives a sedentary lifestyle or even smokes should approach snow shoveling with extreme caution.
So, here are some snow shoveling tips!!
· Dress in layers
· Don’t put your back into it!
o Back injury is a common health risk of shoveling snow. Using the wrong muscles can cause great pain or send someone to the hospital. It's very important to stretch and warm your body up prior to snow shoveling to prevent injury.
§ Use proper body mechanics:
· Stand with feet at hip width for balance
· Bend from the knees
· Keep the shovel close to the body
· Tighten stomach muscles while lifting
· Avoid twisting movements
o Larger snow shovel=Faster shoveling=Higher risk of injury
o An average snow shovel can hold up to 16 pounds of snow, which will add up quick once you get through your entire driveway and sidewalk!
o By using a smaller shovel you will reduce your chance of injury
· Stay hydrated!!
o Cold weather can dehydrate the human body
o Take frequent water breaks, about every 10-15 minutes, and warm up your hands and feet!
o Avoid alcohol
o Avoid caffeine or nicotine before shoveling because they cause blood vessels to constrict, placing extra stress on the heart
· PUSH the snow
o Why make more work for yourself? It’s much easier on your body and will still get the job done.
If snow shoveling is too much of a risk for your health, consider paying the neighbor’s kids (unless you have your own!) a few dollars to shovel your walks or driveway. It may just save your life.
Stay safe!! And have a great winter.
For more information, please visit our disaster preparedness section online, and to schedule a presentation for your work, church or other organization, please contact Denise Herkey-Jarosch, Regional Coordinator, NYS Citizens Preparedness Program at (716) 878-2231 or Herkeyjaroschd@usa.redcross.org.
Special thanks to the Army Corps of Engineers for this great information!!