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Shovel safely

Published January 03. 2014 05:00PM

The American Red Cross offers these snow shoveling tips:

Cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, follow your doctor's advice about shoveling snow or performing other hard work in the cold.

If you have to do heavy outdoor chores, dress warmly and work slowly. Remember, your body is already working hard just to stay warm, so don't overdo it.

Additional tips to make snow shoveling safer:

• Warm up your muscles with 10 minutes of light exercise and stretching;

• Dress appropriately;

• Consider shoveling in shifts instead of all at once;

• Take breaks and drink water to prevent dehydration;

• Use a shovel that is correctly sized for your body;

• When possible, push snow instead of lifting it. If you must lift, bend your legs and not your back;

• Avoid twisting motions that can stress your back; and

• If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath or other symptoms of a heart attack, seek immediate medical care or call 9-1-1.

If using a snow blower, be sure to read and follow all safety instructions and stay aware of others who may be nearby.

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