Shovel safely!

With the upcoming storm, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.  One being how to shovel safely.  While most people recognize that snow shoveling is very hard work, and can put severe stress on your heart, fewer people recognize the stress and strain that it places on your back. So, here are a few tips to keep in mind this week.

  • snow1Stretch first
Stretch your hamstrings, stretch your back, and stretch your shoulders. Then dress in removable layers, grab your shovel and resist the urge to fly at the white stuff just to get the job done. Pace yourself. Start slowly and ramp up to speed.

  • Clear cars first

Brush snow off cars then clear around the cars.

  • Don’t move snow twice

Before you even take your first scoop, decide where you’re going to dump the snow. Drop the first shovelful farther away from where you are standing, then dump remaining snow closer and closer to where you are. That way, the last scoops that you shovel are moved the shortest distance.

  • Move snow the shortest distance possible

Consider that everything from a driveway to a patio to a walkway is really a rectangle, and rectangles have a center point. Move the snow from the center of the rectangle to the nearest edge.

  •  Maintain proper posture:Use your leg muscles as much as possible – push snow when you can and use your legs to lift when you can’t push it.  Keep your back straight as you move from the squat position to the upright position.  Use your shoulder muscles as much as possible.  Hold the snow shovel as close to your upper body as possible.  Keep one hand close to the shovel blade for better leverage.  Don’t twist your upper body as you throw snow.
  • Stay hydrated

Take bottles of water out with you and keep them accessible, either in the car or on the front stoop or somewhere else convenient.

  • Rest frequently

Clearing an area by hand means that you may lift and carry anywhere from hundreds of pounds to tons of snow.
Shoveling with a friend or neighbor is inherently more enjoyable than shoveling on your own. Plus, it’s quicker to get the job done with two or three sets of hands.

  • Stretch when you’re done
    Stretch gently when you’re done and use an ice pack and ibuprofen to take care of inflamed muscles. Rest and remain hydrated.  Also,
Click here for tips from the National Safety Council.

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