While snow can be fun for younger ones, it is risky for anyone who tries to shovel it!
Trips to the emergency room is common for many during the snow shoveling season. Learning to do it the right way helps protect us and our families! Cold weather can increase heart rate and blood pressure even in healthy people. So, taking a few precautions helps!
1. Sedentary lifestyle
Those who are used to a sedentary lifestyle are advised not to begin their exercise routine by shoveling snow. Body would not be used to the cold & activity and we run a risk. Start a warm up exercise days or weeks before the shoveling season, before you plan to get outdoors to DIY. If you must step outside without being physically active for most of the year, try to attempt shoveling in 5-10 minute slots. Timebox the activity and rest in between.
2. Choose the shovel that works for you
- Choose a shovel with a curved angle, that would help you keep your back straight.
- Use a shovel with an appropriate shovel handle that is right for your height
- A plastic shovel compared to a metal one is better, as it would be easier to lift and handle
- The size of the shovel blade could be small or big, based on how much weight you can lift comfortably when it is filled with snow. Choosing a smaller one is better, if you plan to lift and throw the snow.
3. warming up helps
- A small jog indoors, a light exercise indoors helps
- Wear comfortable clothes and layer up well
- Use gloves with a good grip
- Try to be outdoors for 5 minutes and see if you are able to handle the weather, your gloves are working well protecting your hands
- Estimate how long you can stay outdoors at a stretch & stick to your estimates
- You might strain or sprain your muscles if you are not used to working in the cold weather
4. Push, don’t lift
Try to push the snow, do not lift it and throw. You can last longer if you push the snow towards the sides of your driveway, or away from the side walks. Lifting the snow and throwing it might be fun when the snow is fluffy and light, and you can keep at it for some time, however for heavier snow and longer work, pushing helps!
5. Get help
- Every city has snow shoveling services. Look for your nearest one and schedule them!
- Connect with your neighbors & see if they would like a group activity!
- Check with your friends and neighbors if they have a snow blower that can be used safely!
Remember, while shoveling the snow off your driveway and sidewalks are critical, your health is the top priority!