WAUSAU, Wisc. (WJMN) – According to Aspirus Health thousands of Americans are treating in emergency departments for snow shoveling injuries.

“Removing snow can be especially hard on back, shoulder and arm muscles because it involves a lot of bending and heavy lifting,” says Aspirus Occupational Therapist Kaycie Berhorst . “It can also be hard on the heart: Older adults face an increased risk for having heart problems while shoveling. And it’s not unusual for people to slip or fall—or get hit by the shovel—when shoveling snow.”

Some tips for shoveling are:

  • Dress appropriately, wear light, water-repellent clothing, hat, gloves, warm socks, and shoes or boots with good traction.
  • Don’t use a shovel that is too heavy or long.
  • Clear snow early and often instead of when it is packed and heavy.
  • Take breaks and stay hydrated.
  • Stop shoveling if you feel pain, if you have chest pain seek medical care immediately.
  • Push snow rather than lifting.
  • Avoid throwing snow over your shoulder or to the side to prevent strain on your back.

Aspirus Health recommends talking to a physician if you have questions about your snow-shoveling fitness especially if you are over 40, don’t exercise regularly or have a history of heart problems

Information about injury prevention can be found online.