How To Avoid Injury While Shoveling Snow

By Subodh / January 30, 2014

Shoveling snow can be one of the most difficult and dangerous tasks for people. Every year, with the onset of winter, there are number of media stories that revolve around snow shoveling injuries. There have been number of cases where people shoveling snow have had heart attacks. The reason behind this is snow shoveling can be said to be one of the most intense and severe isometric exercises which has a strenuous effect on the heart.

Hard Work

There’s a majority of people that are not used to working out. Yet shoveling snow is an incredibly hard workout. Taking it easy because it can represent a grueling workout will help you pace yourself during shoveling.  Snow shoveling increases the heart rate and blood pressure, rapidly. Aside from heart attack, people often face other injuries during snow shoveling. As an isometric exercise the majority of shoveling, up until the point that the snow is thrown, places a great deal of stress on the heart raising blood pressure, by standing in one place and allowing blood to pool at your feet. This stress often leads to the onset of heart attacks.

Other Injuries

Man Shoveling SnowLower back injury is one of the injuries that people face the most while shoveling snow, as it needs repetitive bending, moving, stretching, lifting and twisting motions. It puts extreme stress on the lower back portion of the body. People of all fitness levels need to be cautious while shoveling snow. This is because shoveling snow is a combination of isometric movements and low temperatures, which can eventually lead to serious injuries as the cold numbs the aches or pains of injuries. Other injuries include spraining of the wrists and ankles due to slips and falls. Ensure your safety by exercising a little caution when shoveling, by following tips below.

Shoveling Advice

There are a number of ways to avoid injuries while shoveling snow. By ensuring certain procedures are followed and safety tips are enacted you can avoid the worst issues that plague you after a hard shoveling experience.

Control your breathing – It is very important to breathe carefully. Most people have the tendency to hold their breath during exertion and physical stress. It is essential to provide the body with extra oxygen when doing this kind of physical activity. Holding your breath while shoveling snow may result in drastic increase in blood pressure and heart rates. Breathe in before the lift and breathe out during exertion.

Warm Up – Start the task with a warm up session. It is essential to get your body prepared for such physical activity. Doctors often recommend people to go to the gym or jog for a while before shoveling snow. During warm up, pay attention to your arms, hamstrings, shoulders and other muscles in preparation for heavy exertion.

Take Breaks – Do not work continuously. If you feel your heart is racing, then it is better to stop for a while and rest. This will gradually reduce the heart rate. One should also be aware of symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, excess sweating, chest pains, and shortness of breath. These symptoms are indicative of severe health problems. If neglected, these symptoms may even be life threatening.

Use the right tool – Using right equipment for shoveling snow reduces the efforts by fifty percent. Look for shovels that aid in pushing snow instead of lifting. It is better to opt for ergonomic shovels. These shovels are designed in such a way that they reduce strain on your lower back and ensure a perfect grip while shoveling. These shovels are made of light weight materials that eventually reduce the workload.

Dress appropriately – Instead of one heavy coat, dress in multiple layers. One can take off the layers while working and put them back on during rest periods.

Sure Footing – Keeping your feet on the ground will help in avoiding injuries while shoveling. Wear proper boots with traction treads that will prevent slipping.

Keep an Eye out – Make sure that your vision is clear. Do not let a scarf or a hat block your vision on slippery or uneven surfaces.

By following the above tips and tricks, one can surely avoid minor and major injuries while shoveling snow.