As you reach for your snow
shovel, there are a few
things to keep in mind before
clearing your driveway.
Snow shoveling can sometimes
lead to bad backs, broken bones,
head injuries, and even deadly heart
problems. Shoveling snow sends,
on average, more than 11,000
adults and children to the hospital
every year and results in death
approximately 100 times a year.
Overworking your muscles,
falling, and being hit with the shovel
were the most common reasons for
injury. Muscle, ligament, tendon,
and other soft tissue injuries topped
the list of snow shoveling mishaps.
Among these, lower back injuries
were common. Other common
snow shoveling injuries included
cuts and broken bones. The arms
and hands were the most likely
body regions to sustain a bone
fracture. Heart-related problems
made up only 7% of snow shoveling
injuries. However, all deaths due
to snow shoveling were caused by
heart problems. Adults over 55 are
4.25 times more likely than younger
people to have heart-related
symptoms while shoveling.
If you have to shovel, remember
to breathe during the exercise. Push
the snow, don’t lift it, and avoid the
6am to 10am window, if possible,
as hormone levels make people
particularly prone to heart attacks
at that time. Dress warmly and take
regular breaks inside. The American
Heart Association suggests skipping
big meals right before or after
shoveling, as a heavy meal can tax
And, in terms of your shovel, use a
smaller one; the less snow you move
at once, the safer you’ll be.
Remember: Dress warmly, take
your time, take breaks and be safe.