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Snow Shoveling Safety

Posted: December 21, 2011

It’s only fall, but as we know all too well here in NEPA, snow shoveling season can start any day now! As you ponder the onset of winter, keep some of these tips in mind.

First the good news! - Fifteen minutes of snow shoveling counts as moderate physical activity and since we should aim for at least 30 minutes on most days, this is a great way to maintain activity during the long winter months.
* If you are inactive or have a history of heart trouble, talk to your doctor before taking on shoveling snow.
* Avoid caffeine or nicotine before beginning as these are stimulants which can increase your heart rate.
* Drink plenty of water. De-hydration is just as big an issue in cold winter months as it is in summer.
* Dress in several layers so you can remove one as needed. Synthetic fibers
work best to wick away moisture.
* Warm your muscles before shoveling by marching in place, moving and swinging arms in circles.
* Pick the right shovel. A smaller blade will require you to lift less snow.
* Start off slow. As you get warmed up, pace yourself and take breaks as needed.
* Protect your back. Bend from your knees not your back. Avoid twisting.