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Health Tip: Snow Shoveling Safety

Here's how to help prevent injury

(HealthDay News) -- While shoveling snow can be a good way to stay active during winter, it can also lead to serious injury without preparation. Here are some suggestions on how to stay safe while shoveling, courtesy of North Dakota State University:

  • Wear layers of clothing so that you can add or remove clothing as you become too warm or too cold.
  • Properly warmed-up muscles are less likely to be strained or injured, so stretch or walk around for a few minutes before you start shoveling.
  • Try a shovel with a smaller blade, so there will be less to lift and less strain on your back.
  • Stand with your feet at the same width as your hips, keep the shovel close to your body, and lift with your knees instead of your back.
  • Don't twist around to toss the snow -- turn your entire body to prevent back injury.

If you have a heart condition, you should avoid shoveling snow, the university says. You are most at risk for a heart attack if you've:

  • Already had a heart attack.
  • Have a history of heart disease.
  • Have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
  • Smoked.
  • Lead a sedentary lifestyle.
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