Follow These Safe Snow Shoveling Tips When Using Your Sno go
Sno go wants to make sure you stay safe when you venture outside to clear walks and driveways. We compiled some safe snow shoveling tips and general advice for staying healthy when working in winter weather.
Safe Snow Shoveling Advice
Shoveling snow is rigorous and can provide just as much aerobic activity and “weightlifting” as a trip to the gym. It can be a great opportunity to get a workout, but not everyone is fit enough to handle it. The National Safety Council offers a safe snow shoveling fact sheet that offers advice for the best way to shovel snow, especially to people over the age of 40 or who are generally inactive, without putting your health at risk:
- Do not shovel snow without a doctor’s permission if you have a history of heart disease.
- Warm up your muscles with a light exercise before shoveling.
- Do not smoke while shoveling.
- Do not shovel after eating.
- If you run out of breath or feel tightness in your chest, stop immediately and seek help.
- The best way to “shovel” snow may be to push it, rather than lifting it, to avoid hurting your back.
- Don’t fill the shovel with snow. Move smaller, lighter amounts at a time.
- Lift with your legs, not your back, and don’t throw snow over your shoulder —it causes a twisting motion that can hurt your back.
Safe snow shoveling is also about planning: shovel throughout a snowfall to avoid having to remove snow that is heavier because it has piled up.
Dressing for Winter in the Great Outdoors
Take bitter winter cold seriously. The risk of frostbite, hypothermia, and injury are very real when your body is exposed to low temperatures — even in a short amount of time, under certain conditions. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Weather Service provide a wind chill chart that shows frostbite can occur in as little as 30 minutes when the temperature is 5 degrees Fahrenheit and wind speed is 30 mph. To protect yourself from winter’s cold, the Centers for Disease Control offer these outdoor safety tips:
- Dress in layers of light, warm clothing. Wear waterproof boots and remember to protect your hands, face, and ears.
- Be aware of the wind chill factor.
- Make sure another person is aware that you are outside in cold temperatures.
- Carry a cell phone.
Avoid a Slip Up
Ice is another winter hazard that can cause serious injuries. When you find yourself walking on ice, NBC's Today advises to think of a penguin. On ice, it’s important to keep your center of gravity over your front leg, rather than distributing your weight over both legs. You will stand up straight and walk like a penguin, but you will greatly minimize the chance that you will fall.
Here are other tips for dealing with icy walkways:
- Use antiskid material — cat litter or sand works well.
- Keep your hands out of your pockets to help maintain balance.
- Choose non-slip boots designed for outdoor, winter wear.
- Take your time. Don’t hurry and become careless.
If you lose your balance, protect your head — NBC Today suggests “tuck and roll” — and don’t try to break your fall with your hands to avoid a broken arm or wrist.
Be careful out there!