Tips to make sure you don’t struggle while shoveling snow

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OKLAHOMA CITY – As a lot of people are staying home this Friday, EMSA paramedics want to warn homeowners about attempting to shovel snow.

Officials stress that heart attacks, back strain and muscle soreness are just a few of the problems associated with shoveling snow.

If you shovel for 30 minutes, you will burn 200 calories, along with clearing the snow.

Typical winter conditions cause death rates from heart attacks to triple among men 35 to 49-years-old.

You heart rate and blood pressure increase during strenuous activity.

When that is coupled with the body’s natural reflex to constrict arteries and blood vessels when exposed to the cold, people are more likely to suffer from a heart attack.

Experts say there are certain groups of people who should think twice before picking up the shovel.

If you have any of the following, contact a doctor before shoveling snow:

  • If you have ever had a heart attack
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Cholesterol

Smokers should also avoid shoveling snow and never smoke while you are doing it.

Tobacco smoke constricts blood vessels, like cold air, which can be dangerous.

Also, you could put yourself at risk if you lead a sedentary lifestyle.

EMSA also has a few tips to make shoveling snow safer.

  • Dress warmly. You may be working up a sweat but that doesn’t mean you’re immune to the effects of the cold.
  • Take breaks every 15 minutes. Do not attempt to clear the driveway in one shot.
  • Go inside for hot chocolate but don’t drink coffee. The caffeine may increase your heart rate and cause your blood vessels to constrict.
  • Keep hydrated and drink plenty of water.
  • Know the warning signs of a heart attack.

Warning signs of a heart attack includes chest pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, arm pain, dizziness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath.

When shoveling, it is also important to avoid back strain.

Here are some tips to shovel properly:

  • Lift with your legs, not your back. Bend your knees and keep your back as straight as possible. Never bend at the waist and step in the direction that you’re throwing snow.
  • Create some distance between your hands. This will give you more leverage and make it easier to lift snow.
  • Pick up smaller loads of snow. If you’re shoveling deep snow, take it easy and shovel two or three inches off at a time.
  • Push the snow to the side of the driveway instead of lifting it.

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