Anyone responsible for snow removal knows what a chore it can be. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, shoveling and snowblowing can be potentially dangerous to your health if not performed properly.
To help lower the risk of injury, Rosemont, IL-based AAOS recommends taking the following precautions when shoveling this winter:
- Remember that shoveling is intense exercise that raises your blood pressure and heart rate. If you are older than 40 or have a history of heart problems, it is best to consult a doctor before shoveling.
- Choose a shovel that feels comfortable and is appropriate for your height.
- Perform stretches and a light, 10-minute muscle warm-up before beginning. Be sure to take frequent breaks throughout to rest and hydrate.
- Avoid shoveling heavy, packed snow. Shoveling early and often will help prevent buildup and lighten your load.
- Push the snow, rather than lift it, and be sure not to throw the snow over your shoulder or sideways, as a twisting motion can put stress on your back.
If you are snowblowing:
- Make sure to read the instruction manual carefully before you use the snowblowing equipment.
- Always shut the engine off when refueling or leaving the snowblower unattended.
- Never stick your hand into a snowblower chute. If snow or ice becomes lodged, shut the engine off and dislodge any debris with a solid object.
- Be aware of where the power cord is when operating a snowblower.