Every year, snow shoveling leads to approximately 100 deaths and 11,500 injuries and medical emergencies in the U.S. In addition, Nationwide Children’s Hospital reports that people 55 years of age and older are more likely to be hurt while shoveling snow, whether due to a fall or heart-related symptoms.
While shoveling snow is considered good exercise when done correctly, there are some things you should keep in mind while performing this winter chore. The Mayo Clinic Health System offers these 10 tips to stay safe and avoid having a heart attack while shoveling snow.
1. Drink plenty of water. It’s just as important to stay hydrated during the winter as it is during the summer.
2. Be conscious of your health history. If you have a history of heart problems and haven’t been active in some time, speak with your health care provider before shoveling.
3. Don’t shovel while eating, after consuming caffeine or while smoking as this may place extra stress on your heart.
4. Warm up your arms and legs before shoveling. Stretch and even take an easy walk around the block first.
5. Take it slow and take breaks if you need to. Safety is more important than speed.
6. Protect your back by bending at the knees. Lift the snow with your legs bent and stand with your feet hip-width apart for balance.
7. Don’t try to lift too much snow at once and try to shovel while the snow is fresh and light, before it begins to melt or gets packed down.
8. Dress in layers and remove a layer as needed.
9. Listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, take a break.
10. If you experience a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Conclusion: Use common sense and don’t try to be a hero and get the job done in record time.