Shoveling snow is a deceptively challenging activity. A 155-pound person would burn about 446 calories an hour, which puts snow shoveling up with cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Because it is rarely a planned event, many people jump into this as a high-intensity activity without any previous conditioning. Poor physical fitness, pressure to finish so you can get to work, and the heart and muscle effort involved leads to a risky situation. You don`t just get up and run a marathon, and you shouldn`t do that with shoveling snow.
Utah snows can get heavy, and many people try to move too much snow at a time. It is very common to see cardiac events such as a heart attack and stroke as a result. As traffic crashes are also very common during snow events, the emergency medical system may have some delays.
The Utah Department of Health has some tips for how to shovel safely with their shovel smart tips below!
- Give yourself plenty of time to complete the task, and consider how much you need to do.
- Start slow and listen to your body; if your heart is racing, pause and let it return to a lower rate.
- Use your legs to push & lift. The larger muscles will protect your back and be easier overall.
- Get help. Many hands make light work.
- Dress in layers. You will warm up very quickly, even in the cold. If you are too hot, your body will struggle more.
- Remember that other people will be using your sidewalk to get where they need to go, help out by getting the sidewalks cleared first.
Find more at www.health.utah.gov for more information.