We just had a pretty decent snowfall here in the Faribault area, and that means that people will be grabbing their shovels and getting to work clearing driveways.

Shoveling can be really good excercise, in fact, a person who is 170 lbs that shovels for 30 minutes will burn roughtly 250 calories. But, there are also some dangers that can come with shoveling. In additon to the ricks of slipping and falling, and back injuries, shoveling can also greatly increase blood pressure and heart rate which can increase the likelyhood of a heart attack. Let's all stay safe this winter and keep in mind a few safety tips!

Tips for safe snow shoveling:

  • Let someone know that you are headed outside and when you anticpate being done
  • Hydrate! Dehyration can happen in any season, so drink some water
  • Dress appropriatly! This includes hats, mittens, scarves, coat and boots with good traction. Depending on the conditions, you may also want snowpants.
  • If it is slippery outside, have some sand, rock salt of kitty litter handy to sprinke and give a little traction
  • Stretching before you begin can reduce injury
  • Take breaks every 15-20 minutes
  • Choose a plastic blade over metal to keep the weight lower
  • A smaller blade helps you to not overload the shovel and lift too much (a full shovel full of wet snow can weigh 25lbs)
  • Look for a shovel with a curved handle to minimize bending
  • When possible, push the snow to the side rather then scooping and lifting
  • When you do need to lift, do do from the legs, not the back
  • Avoid twisting the back to dump snow off of the shovel and instead turn the entire body
  • Do not throw or toss the snow onto the pile, walk to the pile and then empty your shovel
  • If you feel as though shoveling is not a good choice for you, look into a snow blower, or also a snow removal service

Should you become short of breath or lightheaded stop and rest. If you experience a tightness of the chest, or chest, throat, or arm discomfort, seek medical assistance immidiately. Before you begin shoveling, or any strenuous activity, consult your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough for the task.

A safety tip for your home: make sure roof vents are clear of snow, and that your carbon monoxide detector is working and has batteries.

Once you're done shoveling your own drive and have taken a break, help out any eldery or disabled neighbors that might not be able to do that task themselves. I am sure that the people you help will be grateful and you might even be rewarded with some baked goods! And if you have a snow blower- even better- help out a couple people and enjoy the good karma coming your way!