Snow Shoveling Risks

by Ashley Zilka on January 12, 2011 at 4:58 am

Shoveling snow can lead to serious heart and back problems. The Zanesville Muskingum County Health Department wants you to know how to prevent this from happening.

Each year an estimated 1,200 deaths are due to heart attacks brought on by snow shoveling.  People who have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or smoke are at an even greater risk.

"This is due to the increased exercise that they are doing, the lifting, it’s the equivalent of moderate exercise, so if you go out and are not use to doing this sort of thing, you could really stress your heart," said Medical Director Dr. Vicki Whitacre. 

Dr. Whitacre says it is important to listen to your body and take time to rest.

"One of things you can do is realize that you should be prepared by doing it in very small amounts of time, don’t go out there and try to do the whole thing at once. Use an appropriate shovel and a small shovel," said Dr. Whitacre. 

To prevent straining your back, lift at the knees when picking up the snow, this way your legs are doing all the work.

"The newer ones the have the little crook in it is going to be a little higher so you don’t have to bend down as far to pick up the shovel and remove the snow," said Sears Sales Associate Adrian Brown. 

And when it doubt, Dr. Whitacre says to get someone else to shovel your driveway.