Health Advocate Blog

Snow shoveling safety tips

While much of the country is experiencing unseasonably warm weather this December, there’s always a chance for a white Christmas. If and when the snow does fall, shoveling can be a great way to enjoy the brisk temperatures and fit in some fitness over the holidays. However, it’s important to keep in mind a few tips to stay safe and avoid injuries:

  • Know your risk – Shoveling can be fairly strenuous, so if you do not exercise regularly or you have previously experienced any heart trouble, talk to your doctor before shoveling snow or participating in any similar activity.
  • Equip yourself – While it may take you longer to clear a path, a shovel with a smaller blade will help you lift less snow at a time, which can help protect your back and shoulders.
  • Warm up – It may sound silly since you’re headed out into the cold, but warm up and stretch inside before shoveling to get your muscles ready for activity and reduce soreness later on.
  • Dress appropriately – You will likely get warm quickly as you are shoveling, so dress in layers to stay comfortable.
  • Lift safely – Remember to use your legs to lift the shovel, and move your feet instead of twisting your body to further protect your back. Additionally, try to avoid piling too much snow on the shovel at once. It’s safer to lift lighter loads.
  • Stay hydrated – Even though it may be cold out, it’s still critical to stay hydrated while doing any kind of physical activity, like snow shoveling, in the winter.
  • Take it easy – The snow isn’t going anywhere…take breaks as needed to warm up inside with some hot cocoa or stretch out your muscles.

Shoveling snow can be a great way to stay active during the winter months and get some fresh air when you’re snowed in, but make sure to take steps to stay safe and protect yourself.

For Health Advocate Members

If you’re a Health Advocate member, your Personal Health Advocate can help you make an appointment with your health care provider or find a local urgent care center should any injuries occur while shoveling or participating in any winter activity.