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Snow shovelling safety

Canadian Living
Health

Snow shovelling safety

Shovelling snow Today in Toronto, we got 20 centimetres of snow. Whether or not you experienced a snow storm today, if you’re in Canada, chances are you’ve seen your fair share of the white stuff this year. And winter’s not even close to being over yet. There are some things to keep in mind before you pull on your boots and mitts and head out to your slippery driveway or sidewalk. Every year, many Canadians are hospitalized (some even die) from shovelling snow. A U.S. study found that  about 11,500 people are taken to the hospital each year from snow shovelling injuries.  The physical demands of moving around the heavy snow, combined with the frigid temperatures, takes a real toll on your body—even if you feel pretty fit. Here are five tips for staying safe when shovelling. 1. Dress for the cold. The cold has a real effect on your body. Not only are you at risk for frostbite when the temperatures drop; the cold causes your heart rate to pick up and your blood pressure to rise, putting you at prime risk for a heart attack.  If you warm up as you work, you can always take layers off. 2. Wear boots with good grip. Falls can happen easily when you can’t see the ice that’s been hidden by the snow. 3. Avoid twisting your body when throwing the snow from your shovel. Even better, try pushing the snow instead. Many people experience back or muscle injuries from shovelling snow, though wrist injuries are also quite common. 4. Take breaks and give yourself lighter loads of snow, even if it might take a little longer to clear the area. 5. Don’t push yourself. Sure, you might be in great shape, but many of us aren’t used to the intense, repeated demand on our upper-body strength. It’s better to go easy on yourself. Even if your body feels OK right now, you might be in pain the next morning. And remember: Extreme exhaustion is a sign of a heart attack. Stop if you feel tired or dizzy. (Photography: WikiCommons/Andrea Booher)  
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Snow shovelling safety

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