Tips for safe methods of shoveling snow

With Old Man Winter paying a brief visit to the Rimbey area last week, most residents know he’ll be back soon and that means sooner or later, there’ll be plenty of shoveling the white stuff.

  • Nov. 26, 2008 10:00 a.m.

Review staff:

With Old Man Winter paying a brief visit to the Rimbey area last week, most residents know he’ll be back soon and that means sooner or later, there’ll be plenty of shoveling the white stuff.

Unfortunately for those operating the shovels, that also means there’ll be a dramatic increase in the amount of heart attacks suffered, specifically among males between the ages of 35 and 49.

According to the medical community, strenuous activity and cold weather both increase blood pressure and even worse, a combination of both can lead to potentially fatal results.

With that in mind, and in preparation of when winter hits the area for real, The Marketing Department suggests three very important facts to keep in mind before tackling that gigantic pile of show that’s soon to be in your driveway.

First and foremost, protect your heart by treating shoveling like any other form of exercise and warm up before starting. Your heart needs to get ready for the rigours, so the experts suggest taking a walk around the block for a quick cardio workout and get your lungs used to the cold air.

Secondly, protect your muscles. Muscles will tense up from the cold and exertion. Stretching before heading out to shovel will help keep you limber. Also, remember to listen to your body and stop when you feel you’ve had enough.

Your snow shovel needs will depend on where you live and how much snow you get but in general, new ergonomic shovels are designed to put less stress on your back. For really big loads, try a sleigh shovel, which is designed for pushing and dumping, not lifting and tossing. Make sure to use your legs, and not your back, for leverage.

Thirdly, stay warm. Quality winter boots are key to not only staying warm but in preventing injury. Footwear companies offer a wide selection of winter boots that are waterproof and feature insulation for extra warmth. As well, boots that feature traction-enhancing rubber outsoles should help you stay on your feet while removing all the white stuff.