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MayaMohan2 Posted by:
Maya Mohan, Department of Public Health

  Maya is the Physical Activity Coordinator for DPH.

 

I have a confession to make. I have started writing this post about 5 times now and each time I’ve started, I end up stopping because I figured that by the time you read it, it will have stopped snowing and it won’t be necessary to shovel. 

Clearly, that may have been a little bit of wishful thinking on my part.  I am no longer confident that it will (ever) stop snowing so here is my post on snow shoveling safety. Enjoy! 

Shoveling snow can be risky business.  Especially with the amount of heavy snow we’ve gotten so far this year. 

Here are a few tips:

1.  Check with your health care professional first.  Shoveling can put a lot of stress on your heart, so if you have a medical condition or are not regularly active, you may want to think about hiring someone to shovel for you, or asking someone to help.

2.  Dress for it.  This means light, water-repellant layers, a hat, mittens or gloves, thick socks, and proper footwear with slip-resistant soles.

3.  Shovel early and shovel often.  Don’t do what I did and wait until the snow stops to start shoveling! It took me over 2 hours to shovel off all the heavy, packed snow from around my apartment.  My back is still mad at me for waiting so long!

4.  Try pushing the snow rather than actually lifting it. But, if you do have to lift it, here is how:

Shovel a small amount of snow onto your shovel.  Keep your feet apart and squat down, keeping your knees bent and back straight.  Do not bend at the waist!  Lift the shovel up by using the strength in your legs to straighten back up.  Hold the shovel close to your body and walk forward to where you want to dump it.  Protect your back by not twisting your body with a shovelful of snow to throw it somewhere off to the side or over your shoulder. 

Here are some more suggestions from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons on shoveling snow safely. 

You know, maybe now that I’ve actually written this post, it will stop snowing.  I guess only time will tell!

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