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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Says Don't Let Snow Be a Pain: Ease into Clearing Sidewalks, Drives

e following guidelines:
* Use the right shovel. Shovels with S-shaped handles and non-stick

blade surfaces usually require less effort and minimize chances of

back pain that could result from improperly bending or twisting.

Pushing or pulling snow out of the way requires less exertion.

* Avoid stimulants (for example, caffeine and nicotine) that can

raise your heart rate and restrict blood vessels. Avoid shoveling

immediately after eating a large meal.

* Before shoveling, warm up by stretching muscles, especially in the

morning. Muscles are less susceptible to injury during physical

activity after a warm-up.

* Avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids before and during

shoveling, but not coffee (see above). Breathing cold air

dehydrates the body.

* Dress in layers so you can remove or add outerwear as needed. Wear

a scarf or mask and/or goggles, especially in windy or blizzard

conditions. Inhaling cold air may constrict arteries, decreasing

your heart's oxygen supply.

* Ease into the work to avoid a sudden load on your heart. An average

snow shovelful of heavy, wet snow weighs 16 to 20 pounds. That

means for every 10 minutes of typical shoveling, you'll be clearing

more than 2,000 pounds of white stuff. To remove snow, bend from

the knees, keep your back straight, lift with your legs and carry -

don't throw - it to the side. New fallen snow is usually lighter,

so don't wait to remove it. Remove heavy snow in two stages. First,

skim off the top layer, and then remove the bottom. If snow is too

heavy to lift, push or pull it out of the way. Take frequent


* Immediately stop if you feel pain or discomfort. No

SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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