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The Scoop on Snow Shoveling

Armen Hareyan's picture

Shoveling snow can be good exercise when performed correctly. Shoveling snow can also be harmful when people try to take on more than they can handle.

Here are some tips to keep in mind before you go outside to shovel:

  • If you are inactive and have a history of heart trouble, talk to your doctor before you shovel.

  • Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is just as important in cold winter months as it is in the summer.

  • Dress warmly. Dress in several layers so you can remove a layer as needed.

  • Do not shovel while eating or smoking. Avoid caffeine or nicotine before you begin shoveling. This may place extra stress on the heart.

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  • Warm up your muscles in your arms and legs. Walk for a few minutes and stretch your arms and legs before shoveling. Warm muscles are less likely to be injured and work more efficiently.

  • Take it slow! Pace yourself and take breaks.

  • Don't pick up too much snow at once. Use a small shovel, or fill it only one-fourth to one-half if you use a large shovel.

  • Push the snow as you shovel. It is easier on your back

  • Protect your back. Bend from the knees, not your back. Lift with your legs bent, stand with your feet about hip width for balance and keep the shovel close to your body. Try not to twist. If you need to move the snow to one side move your feet to face the direction the snow will be going.

  • Most importantly