Holiday Safety: Tip No. 13

How to avoid serious injury when shoveling snow this winter.

If you plan to clear your walkways and driveways of snow so guests can easily get to your holiday party, consider the dangers. Snow may look puffy and light, but anyone who has shoveled will tell you that it's hard work.

Some experts say that shoveling snow is as strenuous as running nine miles an hour. Any exercise that strenuous can put a strain on your body.

While snow shoveling may never be fun, The Physician and Sports Medicine guide offers these tips to help you to do it safely.

  • Warm up your muscles. Do a few stretching exercises so that the work doesn't come as a shock to your system.
  • Clear snow when it stops falling. Freshly fallen snow that has melted slightly and become more heavy and dense.
  • Bend at the knee as you scoop the snow to reduce strain on your back and heart.
  • Avoid twisting and bending your body as you shovel.
  • Push snow out of the way when possible. It's less strenuous to push snow than to throw it with a shovel.
  • Do not eat, drink or smoke before shoveling. All of these put strain on your heart.
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