If you’re tracking the forecast for this weekend, you’re well
aware that Frederick County is in for our first big winter storm of the
season. While snow can be exciting and beautiful, it also comes with a
lot of work for those responsible for clearing sidewalks, driveways, and
entrances to buildings. Shoveling snow is a physically challenging activity,
one that causes thousands of injuries each year. These injuries range
from sore muscles and lower back pain to cuts and broken bones in the
arms and hands.
To avoid injury the next time you’re shoveling snow, we’ve
assembled a list of helpful tips.
Don’t overdo it.
Shoveling snow is a workout! In fact, one full shovel-load of snow can
weigh as much as 25lbs. When shoveling, you want to avoid twisting motions
and strain on your lower back; never throw shoveled snow over your shoulder
and push the snow with your shovel versus trying to lift it out of the way.
Have the right equipment.
When selecting a snow shovel, choose one that has a curved handle. This
feature helps to keep your back straighter when shoveling. A short handle
will cause you to bend more to lift the load and using a shovel that’s
too long makes the weight at the end heavier.
Take care of your body.
Before venturing outside, make sure you’re dressed in layers and
wearing appropriate footwear. Warm up your muscles and stretch; cold,
tight muscles are more likely to sprain and experience soreness. Go slow,
take frequent breaks, and drink lots of water. If you experience pain
of any kind, stop immediately.
Play it safe.
When shoveling close to the road, pay attention to your surroundings and
watch for oncoming traffic. You never know when cars will start traveling
on the road after the storm passes. Also, keep your cell phone on you
so you can make a call in the event of an emergency.
Be a good neighbor.
If you’re healthy and are used to regular physical activity, keep
those neighbors in mind that might not be able to clear their own sidewalks
and walkways. A little bit of help can go a long way!