It wouldn't be winter in the midwest without snow, and it looks like we're in for some this week - some of us more than others!
If you have a driveway or sidewalk to shovel, here are some great tips to help you get it done quickly and safely:
- If you've had a heart attack, a history or risk of heart disease, high blood presure or cholesterol, or are a smoker, think twice before attacking the accumlating snow. You're risk for heart or health trouble as a result may warrant a call to a local snow removal company, or even a neighbor kid trying to earn some extra cash for the holidays.
- Skip the coffee before heading out, as the caffeine is a stimulant that increases your heart rate and could put extra strain on your heart. Afterall, the cold should have you wide awake in minutes anyway!
- Dress in layers so you can remove them as you warm up.
- Just as any workout, warm up and stretch before you get started and after you're done to avoid pulling a muscle or hurting your back.
- Pick the right size shovel. Smaller shovels can obviously hold less snow, but will keep you from trying to move to much snow at once and injurying yourself.
- Lift with your knees, not your back. When you lift your shovel, stand with your feet hip-distance apart, and keep the shovel close. Use your stomach muscles to help lift. Your toes should always be pointing the direction the snow is being dumped.
- Shovel more than once. It's easier to shovel 2 inches of snow from your driveway 3 times during the day, than to try and shovel 6 inches all at once. It may feel like a waste of time to shovel before the snow is through, but you'll find it's much easier on your body.
- Drink plenty of water. Just because it's cold doesn't mean you can't become dehydrated.
For motivation to get through this dreaded winter chore, how about the fact that 30 minutes of shoveling snow helps you burn 250 calories? And who couldn't use a little bit of help there with all the holiday treats we've been enjoying?