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Stay Safe During the Snow

The most common snow and ice injuries are low back injuries from shoveling and slipping and falling on the ice. Below are some tips to help you avoid those injuries.

If you find yourself slipping, remember “tuck and roll.”

If you feel yourself losing balance, tuck into a ball, make yourself as small as possible and keep your head and face away from the fall, experts say. Don’t put out your hands to catch yourself, or you’ll risk breaking your arms or wrists. Try to land on the fleshy part of your body rather than your knees or spine.

Tips for Walking on Ice and Snow

  • Bend knees and waist slightly, and walk flat-footed so your center of gravity is directly above feet. Think about walking like a Penguin!
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination to avoid carelessness.
  • Wear shoes and boots with good traction.
  • Walk at a slower pace.
  • Stay on designated walkways.
  • Use the handrail when using stairs and entering and exiting buildings.

Tips for Safe Snow Shoveling

  • Dress appropriately. Wearing layers will allow you to adjust to the temperature outside. Be sure to dress warmly enough and cover your head, face, and hands when outside for prolonged periods of time. If you become overheated, take a break from shoveling.
  • Pick the right waterproof boots. They will protect your feet from the cold as well as keep them dry. You will also want to have non-skid boots to guard against falls on slick snow or hidden ice.
  • Pick a small shovel. Depending on how wet the snow is, a shovel full of snow can weigh up to 15 pounds! Selecting a smaller shovel means lighter loads of snow which can help prevent injury to the body by creating less strain.
  • Stay hydrated. Water plays an important role when people exercise in the summer or winter. Have a water bottle handy just inside the garage and take a few sips after every 15 minutes of shoveling snow.
  • Set a time limit. Shoveling snow is a hard work. With a large driveway or long sidewalk, they could be shoveling for up to an hour or more. Come inside after 20-30 minutes and start again. This will be the same as a 30-minute vigorous workout.
  • Lift with the legs, not the back. Make sure that your knees are bending and straightening to lift the shovel instead of leaning forward and straightening back up with the back. Our legs have strong muscle groups that can do the work!
  • Push the snow. It’s easier to push the shovel full of snow instead of lifting and throwing the snow.
  • Separate the hands on the shovel. By creating space between your hands, you can increase your leverage on the shovel to make it easier.
  • Avoid caffeine and nicotine before shoveling. Caffeine and nicotine act as stimulants to our bodies by increasing the heart rate and constricting blood vessels which puts more strain on the heart.
  • Never shovel alone. Let a spouse or neighbor know they will be shoveling. That way, if you do get into trouble someone will be looking out and can call for help quickly.

If you experience any unfortunate incidents because of the weather, we can help!

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