Safe Snow Shoveling

Each winter, people get hurt when shoveling snow. Some pull a muscle or have minor aches and pains - some suffer fatal heart attacks. Shoveling puts a LOT of stress on the body in a very short amount of time. Most people will shovel fast and try to get done as quickly as possible, but people with existing medical conditions, people that don't exercise, or people that are older can do serious damage to their bodies if they don't shovel sensibly. If you're over age 40 and not physically active, you need to be especially careful not to over-exert yourself while shoveling.

Safe snow shoveling tips
  • Do not shovel snow if you have a history of heart trouble. If you must shovel, consult your physician beforehand.
  • Do not shovel after eating a big meal or while smoking.
  • Use a small shovel and take it slow! Shoveling is like lifting weights, it can raise your heart rate and blood pressure dramatically. Pace yourself.
  • Freshly fallen, powdery snow is easier to shovel than the wet, packed-down variety. Shovel as soon as the snow falls before it gets packed down.
  • Push the snow as you shovel instead of lifting. It's easier on your back.
  • Lift with your legs bent, not your back. Keep your back straight. By bending and "sitting" into the movement, you'll keep your spine upright and less stressed. Your shoulders, torso and thighs can do the work for you.
  • Do not work to the point of exhaustion. If you run out of breath, take a break. If you feel tightness in your chest, stop immediately.
  • Dress warmly. Remember that your extremities need extra attention in cold weather. Wear a scarf, ear muffs, hat and insulated boots while shoveling.
Winter Safety Links
Driving in Severe Weather