Winter is upon us, and this means individuals will soon be required to shovel snow. While new snow is breathtakingly beautiful, it can be hazardous to one’s health. Removing the snow is hard on a person’s body in more ways than one. What do people need to be aware of when they go to remove snow from their property and how can they avoid these hazards?
According to the American Heart Association, physical exertion combined with cold temperatures puts a person more at risk of having a heart attack. Furthermore, certain individuals are at a high risk of having a heart attack while engaging in this activity. One reason for this may be individuals tend to shovel early in the day, which is when stress hormones tend to be the highest. Both healthy people and those with a heart condition need to take this into consideration and avoid lifting shovelfuls of wet, heavy snow at all times, but especially during the morning hours.
Slips and Falls
Snow can be very slippery, particularly when the snow falls over ice that is already on the ground. Furthermore, a person may be so focused on removing the snow they pay less attention to where they are stepping. A slip or fall can lead to a person getting bruised and sore or it can lead to much worse, the breaking of one or more bones. People need to be very careful when they are shoveling snow to prevent injuries such as this.
Back injuries remain the most common injury reported with the shoveling of snow. Brad Coffiner of Cornell University’s ergonomic department reports the L5/S1 disc remains the area most at risk of an injury during this activity. In fact, most injuries that are reported after shoveling snow are those that affect the back. Low back pain remains a problem for tens of millions of Americans, yet the problems they experience aren’t a result of a fracture or underlying disease or disorder. When muscles aren’t adequately warmed up before shoveling snow or when they are under-conditioned, a person is more at risk of this type of injury when they shovel snow.
Before shoveling snow, be sure to warm up properly. Do this for a minimum of ten minutes to ensure the body is ready to tackle the heavy snow. Light aerobic activity is perfect for warming up, and the core muscles in the abdomen need to be part of the process. They help to keep a person stable when shoveling the snow.
Of course, the easiest way to avoid an injury while shoveling snow is to pay someone to do this job for you. A professional snow removal service becomes of great help at this time, as the employees are trained to reduce the risk of injury as they complete the task. Contact a company offering this service to learn more about how they can be of help during the winter months. The money spent is well worth it when one considers the dangers to their health and the benefits of avoiding them.