Archive for November, 2011

Snow Shoveling Tips



The good news is that 15 minutes of snow

shoveling counts as moderate physical activity,

according to the Surgeon General’s Report on

Physical Activity and Health (1996). We all should

aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical

activity of some kind on most days of the week.

A 170-pound person shoveling for 30

minutes will burn about 250 calories.

Brisk walking or social dancing are

other ways to fi t in moderate physical

activity during cold winter months.

The bad news is that researchers have reported

an increase in the number of fatal heart attacks

among snow shovelers after heavy snowfalls.

This rise may be due to the sudden demand that

shoveling places on an individual’s heart. Snow

shoveling may cause a quick increase in heart rate

and blood pressure. One study determined that

after only two minutes of shoveling, the heart rates

of sedentary men rose to levels higher than those

normally recommended during aerobic exercise.

Shoveling may be vigorous activity even for

healthy college-aged students. A study performed

by researchers at North Dakota State University

determined that, based on heart rate, shoveling

was a moderately intense activity for college-aged

subjects most of the time but was vigorous activity

during about one-third of their shoveling time of 14


The weather can make shoveling more diffi cult.

Cold air makes working and breathing hard, which

adds some extra strain on the body. Shovelers also

are at risk for hypothermia, a decrease in body

temperature, if they are not dressed correctly for

the weather conditions.








Be heart healthy and back friendly

while shoveling this winter with these tips:

• If you are inactive and have a history of heart trouble, talk to

your doctor before you take on the task of shoveling snow.

• Avoid caffeine or nicotine before beginning. These are

stimulants, which may increase your heart rate and cause your

blood vessels to constrict. This places extra stress on the heart.

• Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is just as big an issue in cold

winter months as it is in the summer.

• Dress in several layers so you can remove a layer as needed.

Synthetic fi bers help wick away perspiration better than natural

fi bers.

• Warm your muscles before shoveling by walking for a few

minutes or marching in place. Stretch the muscles in your arms

and legs because warm muscles will work more effi ciently and

be less likely to be injured.

• Pick the right shovel for you. A smaller blade will require you to

lift less snow, putting less strain on your body.

• Begin shoveling slowly to avoid placing a sudden demand on

your heart. Pace yourself and take breaks as needed.

• Protect your back from injury by lifting correctly. Stand with

your feet about hip width for balance and keep the shovel

close to your body. Bend from the knees (not the back) and

tighten your stomach muscles as you lift the snow. Avoid

twisting movements. If you need to move the snow to one side,

reposition your feet to face the direction the snow will be going.

• Most importantly, listen to your body. Stop if you feel pain.

Be ready for winter storms

Things to have on hand include extra food and water as well as…

  • A shovel. Even if you live in an apartment you should own a shovel as you may need to dig yourself out before your ground crew gets in, and they are unlikely to dig out your car.
  • Flashlights. Make sure you have good quality flashlights and lamps with fresh batteries. Also purchase “Self Powered Flashlights” and “Self Powered Radios”. Some models will also charge your cell phone.
  • Food. Make sure you have enough non-perishable food to last a few days. Even if your budget is tight you should make sure to keep extra food in the house. Canned and powdered foods are good for long-term storage.
  • A Can Opener .Make sure to have a good old-fashioned manual can opener.
  • Blankets and Warm Clothing. You may already have these items, but remember you will need enough blankets to keep you warm without any heat and in adverse conditions.
  • A Camping Stove or Barbeque Grill. A gas powered camping stove is a wise investment for any emergency situation. If you have an electric stove in the kitchen a camp stove is almost a necessity. Be sure you use it with proper ventilation, and have plenty of backup fuel.

    Matches to light your gas range/camping stove/candles. Do not rely on lighters that can run out of fuel or break down all too easily.

            A Battery Operated Radio. This way you can get news without wall power. Make sure the batteries are good. It is also possible to buy a motion charging radio, as you can with a flashlight. 

  • Prescription medications. Like food, it is always wise to have enough to last you a few days.
  • Anything else vital to your household. You should always have ample supplies of items like diapers, formula, batteries, and so on before the storm hits.
  • A wall phone with a cord, or a portable cellphone charger. Cordless home phones will not work when the power is out. Many states require at least one wall plugged phone, which receives power from the telephone connection, in all households.
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