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If you are anything like us, you probably aren’t looking forward to snow being back in the forecast. With the added risks on your daily commute and the chore of shoveling driveways and sidewalks, it’s no surprise you may be dreading winter weather. But before the first big snow hits, dust off some helpful snow shoveling tips to help avoid injuries this winter.

Snow shoveling can lead to a number of health risks for many people. Everything from back injuries to heart attacks can happen when shoveling snow. The combination of cold temperatures and physical exertion increases the workload put on the heart. This can increase the risk of a heart attack for some and lifting shovelfuls of snow can strain your back as well.

Snow Shoveling Safety Tips:

  • Warm up: Warm your muscles before heading out to shovel by doing some light movements, such as bending side to side or walking in place. It is also important to stretch before any physical activity.
  • Push, don’t lift: Pushing snow with the shovel is easier than lifting and can help reduce the strain on your body. When lifting snow is necessary, bend your knees and lift with your legs when possible.
  • Choose your shovel wisely: Ergonomically-designed shovels can reduce the amount of bending you have to do, making your body work less.
  • Take Breaks: Pace yourself and be sure to take frequent breaks. Consider taking a break after 20 minutes of shoveling, especially when the snow is heavy.
  • Lighten the Workload: Consider shoveling periodically throughout the storm. This will help you avoid having to move large amounts of snow at once.
  • Quick Response: The sooner you start to shovel after the snow has fallen, the lighter and fluffier it will be. The longer snow stays on the ground, the wetter and heavier it can become.
  • Wear Layers. Dress in layers and remove them as you get warm to help maintain a comfortable body temperature. Be careful not to remove too many layers as sweat can cause you to lose heat faster than normal.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated while shoveling.

Lower back injuries are the most common when shoveling snow. Cardiac-related injuries account for only 7% of all injuries, but they are the most severe. If you do not exercise on a regular basis, are middle-aged or older, or have any health conditions, such as heart disease or high blood pressure, you should check with your doctor before doing any strenuous shoveling.

Pre-treating your walkways and other paved surfaces with salt can help make snow and ice removal easier. Consider stocking up on ice melt in advance, as it can sell out during long winters. Unused salt can be stored in an airtight container, out of reach from children and pets.

*Be aware that rock salt can damage brick, stone, asphalt and concrete walkways.

For more ways to protect your health and your property from all winter has to offer, just call us at 724-929-2300. We can do all the work of comparing companies for you to save you time and get you the best price possible on a policy tailored to YOU!