While fitness fanatics may look as shoveling snow as just another workout, it does pose health risks for others. Many people associate back problems and sore muscles with shoveling the driveway and sidewalk, but there are other risks as well. Shoveling snow is often associated with elevated heart attack rates during the winter months. When it snows this winter, follow these safety tips to maintain your health and avoid injury.
- Check with your doctor if you believe shoveling snow might present a health hazard, especially if you have a heart condition.
- Stretch your muscles before you begin shoveling.
- Avoid shoveling soon after you wake up. Slipped disc injuries are more likely to occur in the morning due to the build-up of fluid disc from lying down all night.
- Drink a lot of water before you begin and stay hydrated while you work.
- Wear boots with a good rubber sole to prevent slipping and falling.
- Dress in layers and shed layers of clothing to prevent overheating.
- When possible, avoid lifting a snow-filled shovel. Instead, it is safer to push the snow off your driveway and sidewalks. If you must lift the snow, be sure to face the direction you are lifting and twist as little as possible.
- Spray or rub your shovel with lubricant such as WD40 or cooking spray to help prevent snow from sticking to the shovel. The lighter the load, the better for your body.
- Take frequent breaks.
- If you become tired and fatigued, put the shovel down and rest. Try again later.
Hey weekend warriors! The official start of fall is fast approaching and winter won’t be too far behind. Get ready for winter with this checklist of maintenance and DIY projects:
- Clean and covered or store patio furniture in the garage, shed, or basement.
- Winterize the boat after your last fishing expedition or trip to the lake.
- Clean up the lawn mower and winterize it.
- Fertilize the lawn.
- Hang holiday lights while the weather is still nice.
- Clean gutters and clear debris before winter weather arrives.
- Gather, inspect and prepare hunting gear for the fall and winter hunting seasons.
- Plant spring-blooming bulbs.
- Divide perennials.
- Mulch trees and shrubs to protect them from harsh winter weather.
- Turn off outdoor faucets; drain and store hoses.
- Clean grill and cover or store for winter.
- Seal cracks in the driveway, sidewalks and patio before freezing temperatures arrive.
- Buy winter supplies such as snow shovels, ice melt, and ice scrapers.
For many of us the backyard is our home away from home, or more specifically our home outside our house. Many of us will be spending a lot of time in our yards this summer and keeping things safe is just as important in the backyard as it is inside the home. Here are some reminders for backyard safety this summer and throughout the year.
- Grills – Keep your grill at least ten feet away from the side of your house, and keep it away from decks and shrubs. Never use it inside garages or under porches for cover. Keep children and pets away from the grill while in use, and always extinguish the coals before leaving it unattended.
- Decks – Waterproofing will help keep your deck in good shape. Inspect it for cracks and splinters, as well as for screws or nails popping up through the wood. Test railings for sturdiness.
- Plants – Choose plants carefully for your landscape to prevent any interactions like rashes or worse. Likewise inspect existing plants and know what poison ivy looks like and how to remove it safely.
- Pools – Follow existing guidelines and local laws for fencing around a pool. Store chemicals in a safe place and out of reach from children. Check that the drain cover complies with established safety standards. Establish house rules for the pool including, “No one swims alone.”
- Pests – Keep the mosquito population down by eliminating sources of standing water. Change the water in birdbaths and fountains frequently. Do not overuse weed killers or pesticides and be aware of their potential dangers for humans.
- Play Sets – Check frequently for the effects of use and weather like loose bolts, splinters, rust, etc. Provide a soft cushion like wood chips around equipment. Supervise young children while they play.
- Underfoot – Eliminate dangers in the yard that may cause tripping like sticks, rocks, tree stumps and uneven terrain.
- Mower -The spinning blades of power mowers can make dangerous projectiles out of sticks, stones and even toys. Keep everyone inside, especially children, when mowing the lawn.
With the holidays just days away, many drivers are planning long distance holiday road trips to visit family and friends. Your road trip will go much smoother and will be much more enjoyable if you do a little extra planning in advance. Below are eight travel tips to help you plan for your road trip:
- Join a travel club – If you don’t already have a membership to a travel club, join one before you leave town. It will save you a lot of headaches if the unexpected happens while you’re on the road.
- Speaking of the “unexpected”… – Whenever you go on a long distance road trip, you should EXPECT the UNEXPECTED. Anticipate spending extra time on your road trip for whatever might come your way whether it’s a problem such as a flat tire or road construction that slows you down, or a nice surprise like happening upon a charming little town along your route or a tourist attraction that you didn’t know you’d be passing by. If the “unexpected” is a nice surprise, slow down and enjoy it.
- Check you air pressure – Before you leave town, check the air pressure in your tires, including the spare. Improper air pressure can lead to poor handling, lower gas mileage, and in extreme cases it can even cause overheating and a blowout.
- Take turns driving – Switch drivers often. It is safer to switch drivers frequently so no one gets tired or starts “zoning out” behind the wheel. Plus everyone gets a chance to enjoy the scenery while they are the passenger.
- Take frequent restroom breaks – As a rule, you should use the restroom every time you stop during your road trip. Even if you don’t think you have to go, go anyway. If you haven’t traveled your route before, you might not know when you’ll come across the next rest stop, gas station, etc.
- Plan rest days – If you’re driving from one side of the country to the other, your trip could take a few days. Build rest days into your travel schedule. This will give all drivers and passengers a chance to rest and regroup, not to mention it will be good for your car. Constant driving can be taxing on your car. If you take a break or two, your car will be less likely to overheat, breakdown, etc.
- Eat healthy – Roadside convenience stores aren’t exactly known for their healthy food options, so pack a cooler for your trip. When the munchies hit you in the car, you’ll be better off with a healthy snack like fruit, yogurt, juice, etc.
- Entertain the kids – If you’ll be traveling with children, your trip will be more enjoyable if the kids are entertained in the car. Bring travel games, books, magazines, a children’s music CD, etc. Plan to play games like “I Spy”, sing songs, and count blue cars or big rigs. If your kids are entertained, they are less likely to cry all the way to Grandma’s house making your ride more peaceful and enjoyable. And don’t forget their favorite blankets, stuffed, animals or other comfort items that might help them nap in the car.
For more tips, please check out 8 Travel Tips for a Holiday Weekend Road Trip.
Cold weather can cause all kinds of transportation problems, so don’t put off having your car inspected and serviced now. Below is a checklist of the most important areas of your car to review or inspect in order to be prepared for winter.
- Check all of the fluids. This includes oil, brake fluid, coolant, and windshield washer fluid.
- Have the battery serviced including cleaning the terminal ends and checking cables for wear. If it fails a load test or is more than four years old, replace it.
- Check tire tread for wear. If you drive on remote roads consider replacing all-season tires with snow tires for added traction in snow and ice.
- Make sure tires are inflated properly as cold temperatures will lower pressure. Specifications for your car are usually found on the edge of the door or in the glove box.
- Have your breaks inspected. Control on slick roads is key in the winter.
- Test defroster, heater, and all the lights including turn signals and headlights.
- Replace windshield wipers to ensure best visibility.
- Keep the gas tank full to prevent moisture freezing in the gas lines.
- Carry emergency items. Include a blanket, extra clothing plus boots, gloves, hat, ice scraper, snow shovel, flashlight, flares, kitty litter for traction, jumper cables, a phone charger, and maybe your favorite snacks to get you through that enormous traffic jam on the way home from work.