EDISON - As New Jersey continues to dig out from a record-breaking snowfall, experts are warning people to be careful while shoveling.
Hospitals throughout the state often see various injuries and ailments associated with the grueling act of shoveling snow. Dr. Roger Sahoury from the Above and Beyond Holistic Wellness Center in Paramus says people often injure their shoulders, knees and backs. People are also often at risk for heart attacks.
Dr. Sahoury says that there are some ways to keep oneself healthy while shoveling.
He says that shoveling often burns a lot of calories and energy, so remember to stay hydrated and eat healthy, protein-rich foods. Sahoury says it is important to warm up muscles before shoveling, and people need to push with their legs and not lift. It's also important to take breaks every 15 minutes.
Dressing in layers is also important, and make sure heads and hands are kept warm and dry. Dr. Sahoury says that since about 50 percent of body heat is lost through the head and neck area, it is important to wear a hat and scarf.
Experts also suggest using an ergonomic shovel that will conserve energy and reduce the stress on a person’s spine. They also suggest spraying shovels with non-stick sprays so the snow will slide right off.
Dr. Sahoury also says to avoid caffeine or nicotine one hour before and after shoveling because it raises the heart rate and blood pressure.
It is important to recognize the signs of a heart attack while shoveling. Anyone who feels their heart rate increase, has shortness of breath, a tight chest or feels dizzy or lightheaded should call 911 as soon as possible.
Lastly, experts say that people using snowblowers should remember to say away from the blades if they become blocked or malfunction to prevent serious injury.