Smart shoveling may avoid injuries to heart and back

By Carol Higgins Taylor
Posted Feb. 01, 2011, at 9:03 p.m.

Winter has a firm grip on us this year with several huge storms blanketing the state and no end in sight. Snow may look beautiful when the large flakes are falling, but this winter wonderland has lost its charm for many people.

Clip this column and give it a read-through before you head out again to clear away the white stuff. By now you may be an expert at shoveling but the banks are high and there is less room to put the snow, which forces you to be creative about what to do with it.

Proper snow shoveling techniques can reduce your risk for back injury or a heart attack.

First of all, you should face the snow you’re about to shovel and always keep your back straight, your knees bent, and throw the snow forward.

Don’t throw snow over your shoulder because twisting while throwing snow behind you can cause back strain. In fact, experts recommend that you push the shovel to move the snow and avoid lifting whenever possible. This will be tricky as you may be out of room, but heed the advice as best you can or find someone with a snow-blower to help.

Here are some other tips to help you survive the shoveling season:

There you have it. The next time a storm is forecast, which will probably be soon, you’ll be ready. But be careful out there. It only takes a minute to get injured, but often months to recover.

Remember, if possible think about hiring someone to shovel for you. It may cost less than you think and ensures you won’t get hurt. Plus, you are giving someone a job in this weak economy. My personal plow guy is worth his weight in gold.

Carol Higgins Taylor is director of communications at Eastern Area Agency on Aging. E-mail Higgins Taylor at For information on EAAA, call 941-2865, toll-free 800-432-7812, e-mail or log on TTY 992-0150. printed on August 21, 2017