Every year hundreds of people injure their backs, or worse, by shoveling snow. Snow removal may be a necessity if it snows frequently, but it is also a physical activity that should be carefully undertaken. However, there are some tips that can help alleviate this hassle and keep you and your back safe so that you might be able to enjoy the winter wonderland around you.
Shovel light snow.
- If you receive only several inches of light, dry snow, you may be able to shovel your walks and driveway. When shoveling, always be aware of your back and bend your knees. Avoid excess twisting.
- Always shovel lighter loads of snow, not a heavily packed shovel.
- Don’t shovel soon after you wake up. A slipped disc injury is much more likely to occur in the morning due to the build-up of fluid in the disc from lying down all night.
- Take breaks often.
- Elderly should consider calling on a neighborhood youth or a snow removal professional to shovel their walks or if getting around isn’t a problem, buy a snowblower. These machines do all the work for you while all you have to do is push them.
Use a snowblower for heavy, wet snow.
- When snow is very wet and heavy, use a snowblower if at all possible. Extreme caution should be used when operating a snowblower.
- Keep all shields in place and keep hands and feet away from all moving parts.
Inspect your snowblower ahead of time.
At the start of snow season, check your snowblower to be sure that it is in good condition and ready to go. Use your best judgment as to who you allow to operate the machine. This job requires much responsibility and maturity, not to mention physical ability. Many heart attacks occur during winter snow shoveling because people who are overweight and out of shape grossly underestimate the strain of this physical activity. Be certain that you are up to the task before attempting this yourself.
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Be wary of stray objects on your sidewalks and driveways.
- Stray objects can be thrown further than the snow. If possible, inspect sidewalks and driveways for rocks or other objects that could cause injury or damage to the machine.
- Always be sure the chute is pointed away from your house to prevent damage if the snowblower does pick up a rock.
Use rock salt to melt ice.
- For icy sidewalks, throw down some rock salt. Slippery sidewalks can be extremely dangerous, especially for the elderly.
- Call in the pros to remove snow for around $165.
- For large amounts of snow on driveways, contact a plowing service to save yourself time and energy, not to mention possible injury.