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Board Bits - January
Posted on Jan 8th, 2020

If you have cardiovascular disease, or have other problems that might interfere with safe shoveling, get your doctor’s okay before taking on the task. For others, these steps can help minimize the health risks of snow shoveling.
 
Prepare properly. The AHA recommends not eating a big meal, which may put further stress on your heart before shoveling. Skip the alcohol, too. It can dull your perception of the cold and the amount of strain your body is under. Before you head outside, warm up with 10 minutes of light exercise, such as walking. It is advised that you do some gentle stretches as well, to limber up muscles and joints.
 
Dress warmly. Wear several loose layers, and a water-resistant coat and boots, along with a hat, scarf, and mittens or gloves to protect your extremities from the cold. Try to keep your gloves dry as you shovel, because dampness limits their ability to insulate your hands.
 
Take it slow. Pace yourself while you work. When you can, push snow along the ground to get it out of the way, rather than lifting it. Instead of a large shovel, use a smaller one, whose lighter load will be easier to lift. If you’re using a larger shovel, fill it only partially with snow before lifting. Take frequent breaks to rest, warm yourself up inside, and rehydrate.
 
Use good form. When you lift snow, use the power in your legs instead of your back to avoid injury. Squat with your knees wide and your back straight; don’t bend at the waist. Rather than tossing snow off to the side or behind your shoulder, walk it over to where you want to dump the snow.
 
Fall-proof yourself. Wear shoes or boots with slip-resistant soles or add traction with slip-on ice cleats, available at sporting goods stores. Once your walkway is clear, consider putting down salt or sand or both.