Did you know that the average shovel is loaded with around 16 pounds of snow. This means if you complete 12 scoops per minute you will move 192 pounds of snow per minute or 2,000 pounds in a 10 minute period!
Most people tend to shovel in the morning shortly after waking up. An early morning rise in blood pressure known as the “a.m. surge” drastically increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Higher blood pressure coupled with cold temperatures can cause arteries to tighten, restrict blood flow, and reduce oxygen to the heart, setting the stage for heart attack. The heart is required to work harder to push blood through the constricted vessels to maintain body heat.
To prevent this from occurring do a good warm up for 5 to 10 minutes of light, easy indoor activities. This will bring your heart rate up gradually and dilate your vessels. Listen to your body, if you are tired or sore stop. If you become short of breath, experience chest discomfort, profuse sweating or feel nauseous call 911.
While shoveling, it is also important to utilize proper body mechanics to reduce stress on your body and also prevent back pain and soreness.
Consider the following tips when shoveling:
– When possible, push snow instead of lifting.
– If you must lift, use proper body mechanics. Squat with your legs apart, knees bent, and back straight.
– Lift with your legs not your back.
– Scoop small amounts of snow into the shovel and walk to where you want to dump it.
– Shovel in sections with small loads.
– Keep the shovel close to your body to avoid putting too much stress and weight on the spine.
– Never remove deep snow all at once.