Wednesday, 10 December 2014

We Be Shovelin' - snow shoveling tips n' tricks

It's that time of year ya'll !
A guide to healthy snow shoveling (before, during, after) !

First the important stuff!
- Shovel at least 1-2 hours after eating
Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages and energy drinks. These stimulants increase your heart rate, causing blood vessels to constrict > therefore heart must pump harder = extra stress on heart > can elevate your heart rate, increasing your risk for heart attack.

Listen to your body.

 Stop shoveling and call 911 if you have:
-discomfort or heaviness in the chest, arms or neck
-unusual or prolonged shortness of breath
-a dizzy or faint feeling

Precautions : Strenuous activity & your heart

Shoveling Snow is a workout! It gets our bodies moving and our hearts pumping.  Unfortunately, it is quite common for a heart attack to occur.   HIGH RISK candidates includes:
Talk to your doctor about this activity and your health status before winter season arrives.

Think twice if you:
have had a heart attack or have other forms of heart disease
have high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels
> are a smoker > lead a sedentary lifestyle
Consider hiring a student or using a volunteer service if you are a senior. If you are healthy and willing : shovel for someone on your street as a random act of kindness!

Before You Shovel: PREPARATION

Shovel early and often:
new snow is lighter than heavily packed/partially melted snow
Shovel often as the snow falls. Heavy accumulated snow can turn to ice and cause a safety hazard.

Your Look:
-bundle up lots of layers (can remove as you warm-up) covering as much skin as possible.
Mittens are warmer than gloves J   -wear boots with non-skid/no-slip rubber soles

Your Warm UP:
- take a walk around the block > warm up arms and legs as cold and tight muscles are more prone to strain.

Your Shovel:
  -ergonomically correct model (curved handle) will help prevent injury and fatigue. Curved handle = straighter back (= less strenuous) A straight handle may find you hunching over. 
-lightweight> w/smaller blade =decreased load (one full shovel load can weigh as much as 25 lbs)
>choose plastic blade over metal (spray silicone based lubricant) 

Do's and Don'ts in more detail:

DO! DO! DO! 

feet about hip width for balance & should point in the direction you are lifting and throwing snow in.

 - keep the shovel close to your body.

Leverage: grip shovel with both hands 12” apart (foot) to increase leverage. Distance btwn hands increases leverage, decreasing strain.

 Feet hip width> and bend your knees as you lift.

-Bend from the knees (not the back)
-PUSH the snow, avoid lifting > pushing will decrease stress on your spine.

-tighten your stomach muscles as you lift the snow

 - Start Slow and continue @ slow pace> take frequent breaks to gently stretch& drink lots of water to prevent dehydration
(Suggestion: shovel for 5-7 minutes and rest 2-3 minutes)

AVOID the following > AVOID the following > AVOID the following:
-any reaching feeling (aka arms away from body)

Whilst Shoveling, avoid: 

-bending at the waist
-Twisting your body while lifting can cause injury. Your feet
-throwing snow over shoulder

Happy Shovelin' !