Here are the ways to protect yourself while shoveling snow

Shoveling Snow Is As Tough On Your Heart As A Treadmill Stress Test
Posted at 5:03 PM, Jan 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-26 13:16:03-05

(WXYZ) — Once the snow lets up, many Michiganders will bundle up and brave the cold to start shoveling their driveways and walkways.

But don’t let the white and fluffy stuff fool you. Shoveling can be dangerous.

It’s pretty chilly, so you first need to make sure you’re dressed properly. Anyone who has shoveled snow in the past will know that it can be sweaty work. So, it’s best to dress in layers. That way, as you warm up, you can take off a layer or two if needed.

Also, I want you to be aware of frostbite. That can happen when the temperatures get below 31 degrees. Your extremities, like fingers and toes, are most at risk. So, choose mittens or gloves — preferably waterproof — that are designed to keep your hands warm and dry.

Your boots should be well-insulated and have plenty of grip on the bottom to keep you from slipping and sliding. And of course, don’t forget a hat or headband that covers your ears.

Now, here’s how to shovel safely.

First, try to push the snow with the shovel. This will help to protect your back. But if it’s deep or hard to move, try scooping up small amounts. Be sure to keep the shovel close to your body. Also, keep your back straight, your knees bent a little and lift with your legs, not your back.

And please don’t push yourself. It’s important to take your time and take breaks as needed.

According to a 17-year study, as many as 100 deaths per year can happen while shoveling snow. And it can be particularly hard on older people and those who live sedentary live because as pretty as this white stuff is, it can put some people at risk of a heart attack.

Shoveling — particularly heavy snow — is hard work, and it can place extra stress on the heart. Plus, when we’re out in the cold, our arteries constrict or tighten, which affects blood flow to our heart. And, the chilly temperatures can increase blood pressure. When these factors are combined, that’s when shoveling can become deadly.

Those most at risk are people who’ve had a heart attack or stroke and people with multiple health conditions like high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, diabetes and obesity. I would strongly advise these folks to hire a company or a neighborhood teenager.

But for anyone who is out shoveling, if you experience chest pain or pressure, trouble breathing, lightheadedness or irregular heart rhythms, you need to stop immediately. If the symptoms don’t go away shortly, then get medical help right away.