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It is that time of year again... Although the kids enjoy playing in the snow, you are faced with the sometimes daunting task of shoveling it, particularly after last year's snowfall amounts. By following these recommendations, hopefully this will help to make it a positive, if not enjoyable, experience for you.
Looking at the Good
First, the positives: shoveling snow can be looked at as an excellent form of exercise. It should be considered a vigorous activity. In a study out of North Dakota State University, they determined that, based on heart rate alone, shoveling was considered a moderately intense activity for college-aged individuals but was a vigorous activity for about a third of their total shoveling time of 14 minutes.
Did you know: if you load the average shovel with 16 pounds of snow, you end up moving 192 pounds of snow if you load your shovel about 12 times a minute (or once every 5 seconds). That's almost 2,000 pounds being lifted in just over 10 minutes!
Recognizing the Bad
Now, the negatives: the potential for injury or even death. There is an increase in fatal heart attacks with shoveling snow, particularly after heavy snowfalls. Shoveling snow puts a sudden demand on one's heart and quickly increases heart rate and blood pressure - often times to higher levels than normally recommended during aerobic activity within just a few minutes of shoveling. Because of this, it is not recommended that you shovel if you have any of the following risk factors:
Data suggests more than 100,000 people visit emergency rooms and doctor's offices due to injuries while removing snow manually each year. Many of the more common injuries include sprains and strains to the back and shoulders as well as lacerations and finger amputations.
If you are going to go out and shovel that snow, here are a few recommendations to follow:
Recommended techniques for selecting a snow shovel:
Recommended techniques for shoveling snow:
By following these simple recommendations, your snow shoveling experience can be a pain free, if not enjoyable one.
Tips for snow shoveling: How to avoid back pain. http://www.spinuniverse.com
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
The scoop on snow shoveling safety. North Dakota State University
Tips to Shovel Snow Safely: Simple Tips To Avoid Snow Shoveling Health Risks, Rome Neal
Last Updated: 11/18/2010