Get the scoop! Healthy tips for shoveling snow
As temperatures drop, your risk of injury may arise. Snow and ice are here
to stay for the season, but that doesn't mean you can't be prepared.
Here are several tips for staying safe this winter.
*If you have a chronic condition or joint injury, please consult your doctor
before shoveling snow
1. Drink plenty of water. Shoveling snow can be a lengthy, physically demanding task. It's important
to stay hydrated both during and after shoveling to prevent dehydration.
Take small breaks in between and keep a water bottle nearby.
2. Layer up. Make sure to wear a few breathable layers of clothing while shoveling.
This may include a base layer (long underwear, dry-fit long-sleeve shirt),
a light, cotton, zip-up sweatshirt, an insulated jacket, waterproof gloves,
and a winter hat. Try to wear light layers that you can easily take off
if you get too hot. Avoid wearing heavy wools or other materials that
don't allow perspiration to evaporate to prevent overheating.
If not dressed properly, you're also at risk for hypothermia. Hypothermia
is a serious medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster
than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature.
If you experience symptoms of hypothermia, such as shivering, slurred
speech, weak pulse, confusion, memory loss etc. please seek medical help
3. Protect your heart. Avoid caffeine or nicotine before shoveling, they may increase heart rate
and put extra stress on your heart. Start slowly, pace yourself and take
breaks to avoid a sudden demand on your heart.
4. Warm up. Treat snow shoveling like any workout. Stretching will help prevent muscle
straining and soreness. Walking or marching in place for a few minutes
are also good ways to warm up your muscles before shoveling. As in exercising,
warm muscles function better.
5. Know your form. Remember, "push, don't lift." Pushing snow to the side puts
less stress on your body and prevents a pulled muscle. If you must lift,
please keep these tips in mind: stand hip-width apart, bend your knees
and keep your back straight, lift small amounts of snow at a time and
don't twist while dumping the snow. Also, make sure you pick the right
shovel. A smaller blade lifts less snow, putting less stress on your body.
Garden City Hospital wishes you a safe and healthy winter season! If you
find you do need a doctor, we're here for you. Please call 877-717-9355
for a referral to a Garden City Hospital physician.