CALS Wellness Committee tip: Don’t rush when you are shoveling snow

It’s that time of year again when you need to dress in layers of clothes before you take a single step outside. Snow can be fun and beautiful, but it can also mean added work to your day. You may need to warm up your car, take extra time to walk slowly to the bus stop, dress your kids or pets in layers of clothing. The long list of morning chores can tempt you to rush through your tasks, but one thing you should never rush is shoveling the snow.

If you are responsible for shoveling your walk or parking space, you may feel the urge to shovel in a frenzy. But it’s not a good idea to rush through the task. Shoveling snow can be strenuous exercise and can strain your muscles—and your heart. It’s a good idea to slow down to protect your health.

Here are a few snow shoveling tips to help protect your health:

  • Stretch out before you begin.
  • Wearing a scarf over your mouth can warm the air that you breathe.
  • Push the snow rather than lift it.
  • If you do have to lift the snow, lift lighter loads.
  • Go outside and shovel more often, rather than to wait for the snow to accumulate.
  • Take breaks.
  • If you use a snow blower, turn it off before you pull out jammed ice or snow from the blades.
  • If you feel any unusual symptoms, such as chest pains, lightheadedness or shortness of breath, stop. If symptoms don’t go away in 5 minutes, call 911.

More information and tips can be found at the UW Health website at and The Weather Guys website at