The mild weather that spoiled the Midwest through much of November has definitely retreated south, and we are left with the snow and ice that has taken its place. Before you head outside to deal with what the latest storm left behind, make sure you’re properly prepared to handle the job ahead of you.
If you prefer to grab a snow shovel and tackle the drifts with gusto, keep in mind a few safety tips. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) offers a few suggestions to keep you injury free this winter season.
First of all, make sure you are physically able to handle the stress this aerobic activity puts on your heart. If you have heart disease or are out of shape, it’s best to leave this activity to another family member or hire a snow removal service to shovel the snow for you. Otherwise, before you head out to shovel, make sure you do a few warm-up exercises—just as you would before any other exercise—to prepare your body for the exertion. Also, take frequent breaks while shoveling and stay hydrated.
It’s best to dress in several layers and wear a hat to help your body maintain its heat. Wear appropriate footwear that will prevent you from slipping on the snow and ice.
Rather than waiting for the storm to completely end before you start shoveling, it helps to shovel a few times through the duration of the storm. That way you avoid having to deal with deep, heavy snow that can become packed down and hard to move.
The AAOS also recommends pushing the snow rather than lifting it, but if you must lift it, do not twist your body. Bend your knees, squat down, keep your back straight and lift with the power of your legs. Do not bend at your waist. Remove the snow in layers, not all at once.
If you are using a snow blower, follow the directions to avoid mishaps. If it is an electric snow blower, keep track of where the power cord is at all times.
The WeatherChannel.com offers a few tips for using chemicals. A de-icer is a chemical that is spread on snow or ice, which penetrates through to the surface of the pavement and melts the ice there.
On the other hand, an anti-icer is used before the snow begins. It prevents the ice and snow from bonding to the pavement, making it easier to remove. Be sure you follow the directions for the product, because overuse of either of them can damage the environment.
Taking the proper precautions when shoveling or thinking ahead and contracting with a snow and ice removal service for the winter will help to make sure that your winter is as safe and stress-free as possible.