As we detailed in a previous post, the holidays can be quite hazardous to your health (and no, we’re not just talking about the fact that you’ll be cooped up with your relatives for 48 solid hours). Between burns and scalds in the kitchen, to frostbite incurred while shooping your way down the ski slopes, there are lots of ways that winter can affect your health.

Of course, your primary care physician at Medics USA in Ashburn is always available to help, offering same day appointments in many cases!

Today, we’d like to talk about one of the most common reasons that Ashburn residents come hobbling into our primary care clinic during the winter time: Snow shoveling. It’s a chore that we all dread but sometimes, shoveling snow can actually result in serious injury or even heart attacks.

Before Shoveling Snow This Year, Ask Yourself…

Are you fit enough for shoveling?

Shoveling is both a strength and cardiovascular exercise. Just like you would need to have a physical exam before starting a new class at the gym, you should definitely make sure your heart and muscles are healthy enough for shoveling before you start.

Do you have the right shovel?

An artist is only as good as his tools. This is true in snow shoveling as well as painting! Far too many people use shovels that are too heavy or too short, putting them at risk for severe muscle strains. Choose a shovel that weighs no more than four pounds and has a handle that comes up to your elbows when standing upright.

Are you shoveling slowly enough?

As we said, shoveling is cardiovascular exercise. This means it should be treated like a marathon and not a sprint. Aim for around 15 scoops a minute and you won’t get winded too quickly.

If you do get hurt while shoveling, remember that your Ashburn primary care doctor is only a phone call away!