With the cold weather in full swing, the snow will begin to pile up! Shoveling snow can be dangerous. If you have any back problems or lifting limitations, it may be best to hire someone to shovel your snow for you. However, if you must shovel your own snow, you can reduce your risk of injury by following these safety guidelines provided by the Saint Barnabas Ambulatory Care Center’s Center for Health and Wellness:
• Shovel early and often. This keeps the amount of snow that needs to be removed to a minimum. Removing it quickly prevents snow from freezing and becoming harder to move.
• Try to push snow instead of lifting it. If you have to lift the snow, do not bend at the waist. Bend your knees and keep your back straight. Lift with your legs, not your back. Scoop small amounts of snow onto the shovel and walk it over to where you want to dump it.
• Use a shovel that is comfortable for your height and weight. Don’t use a shovel that is too heavy or long. Shovels with a curved handle help decrease strain on the lower back.
• Don’t throw snow over your shoulder or to the side. This action requires you to twist at the waist, which puts stress on the spine.
• Pace yourself. Shoveling is an aerobic activity. Take breaks often and drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
• Most importantly- Listen to your body. Stop if you feel pain. If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, or other signs of a heart attack, seek medical attention immediately.
For more information about the Center for Health and Wellness at the Saint Barnabas Ambulatory Care Center, please call 973.322.7444 or go to www.saintbarnabasacc.com.