According to the National Safety Council, shoveling snow is responsible for as many as 100 deaths and thousands of injuries each year.
Wear the right clothes and protection
Before you go outdoors to shovel, depending on the conditions, make sure you wear:
- Breathable layers such as cotton and silk instead of heavy wools,
- Waterproof boots with good traction,
- Thick, warm socks,
- Head covering to prevent loss of body heat,
- Mittens or gloves to protect your hands, and
- Sunscreen and lip balm to protect exposed skin.
Knowing ways to prevent injuries while shoveling or snow blowing is important. Remember to:
- Stretch. Stretching warms up your body and helps prevent muscle strains when done in proper form.
- Use proper form. Be sure to use your knees when shoveling or lifting rather than your back. Squat down with your legs apart, back up straight and heels grounded.
- Push snow rather than lifting it. Never throw snow to the side or behind you since you could get hurt while twisting.
- Take your time.
Get outside as soon as you can
Shovel when snow is fresh as it is easier to clear than when wet, compact snow. Shovel after every few inches of accumulation.
Work safely and slowly
Shoveling snow is considered to be exercise as it raises your heart rate and blood pressure. Recognize the warning signs of a heart attack. Be sure to pause every now and then to prevent exhaustion and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. While most people do not have a problem, shoveling snow can put some people at risk. Check with your doctor to verify that it is safe for you if you have a medical condition or don't exercise regularly.