Winter is officially here in Connecticut, and while the snow has been slow to get to Norwalk, it’s important to make sure your body is prepared and conditioned for shoveling. Shoveling can be dangerous, leading to muscle strain and even heart attacks if done incorrectly. If you are going to be shoveling when the snow starts to fall, make sure you stay safe by following these tips!

Dress for the weather

Treat snow shoveling like a workout.   Always start by doing some stretches. Make sure you dress accordingly. Ensure that you have good footwear to avoid unnecessary slips and falls, dress in layers, wear a hat and warm gloves, and a scarf or muffler to cover your face and prevent frostbite. 

Don’t push yourself

Use the right shovel. Ergonomic shovels that have a curved shaft allow for better leverage and are easier on the body, while maintaining correct posture.  Plastic shovels are typically lighter than metal ones. Always lift with your knees, never your back, and don’t try to move heavy amounts of snow.  It is better to shovel light loads to prevent strain. Instead of lifting snow and carrying it across a space to dump it, push it across the surface to reduce strain on your knees. If you begin to feel fatigue, take a break to drink some water and recharge. 

Start shoveling early

Rather than waiting for all of the snow to fall, do a few rounds of shoveling. Fresh snow is easier to shovel as it is fluffier and lighter, without the chance to get packed down yet. Snow becomes wetter and heavier the longer it is on the ground and has a chance to accumulate. By shoveling a few times, you’ll have less snow to shovel and you’ll be at less risk for injury. 

Stay hydrated throughout the day

Make sure you are drinking plenty of water before you start and take breaks from shoveling, and bring a reusable bottle out with you so you don’t get dehydrated. 

Know your limits

If you do not think you are capable of shoveling, do not push yourself. If you do not exercise or have heart disease or high blood pressure, consider using a snowblower or hiring a professional snow removal service to handle it in order to stay safe. Consult with your doctor about the risks of heightened levels of exertion.

Injury Treatment in Norwalk, CT

If you are hurt while shoveling snow this winter, don’t wait for the injury to resolve itself. Visit AFC Urgent Care Norwalk for falls, slips, and strains.  Our center has an x-ray on-site and is open seven days a week. We accept most major insurance plans. For questions, please call 203-845-9100 or check-in online to make an appointment.