Before you shovel, read this

February 4, 2014

And that can mean trouble for your body, if you're not careful.

If you'll be shoveling snow, warm up indoors with some basic calisthenics - swinging your arms, lifting your arms, jogging in place. Those will get your heart pumping and your muscles warmed up.

Because the snow is heavy, put less on your shovel each time, to reduce the strain on your heart, back, and muscles.

Bend at your knees, and turn to lift it - don't throw it. Physical therapists say that's a recipe for a strained back

Take frequent breaks - and drink plenty of water, before and during your snow-clearing project.

If you will be using a snow-thrower, be sure to turn it OFF before cleaning out the chute.

Hospitals in the area have treated a number of hand injuries this winter to people who weren't so careful.

And don't smoke, regardless whether you are shoveling or using a snow-blower. Cold temperatures constrict blood vessels, and smoking adds to that, depriving it of oxygen even more.

Doctors often recommend that anyone over the 60 not shovel at all. Leave it to the neighborhoods trying to earn a little extra money.

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