Proper shoveling prevents injuries: It starts with the right shovel

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The proper way to shovel snow to avoid straining your back. (WABC)

It's a fact of life. When there's snow, someone has to shovel it.

But do you really know how to shovel properly to avoid injuring yourself?

**See how to pick out the right shovel and properly shovel snow in video player**

Dr. Richard Besser, former Chief Health and Medical Editor for ABC News breaks it down.

Picking the right shovel:
He says it starts with picking out the right shovel. There are a lot of options, but not all are designed for shoveling snow. You want to pick one that is designed for pushing.

Health concerns:
You also want to make sure you doctor clears you for physical activity. Shoveling snow is hard exercise. Being out in the cold, your heart is already working overtime to pump blood through your body. Your arteries are clamping down tight and that puts a lot of strain on your heart. Dr Besser warns that shoveling can be more rigorous than working out in a gym.

Proper shoveling:
When it comes to shoveling snow, if you don't do it properly, it can put a big strain on your lower back. The focus of shoveling isn't lifting snow. A shovel with wet snow can weigh as much as 25 pounds. Lifting repeatedly can put a major strain on your back.

The big goal is to get a shovel that allows you to push the snow. You put the shovel in front of you and push the snow. There's very little lifting. When you have to lift, lift with your legs. You go down with your legs and up with your legs. Do not use your back.

Remember to start slowly. Don't fill your shovel all the way and take frequent breaks.

So do what the doctor ordered and avoid injuries.
Related Topics:
weathermedicalsnowstormsnowcoldhealthoriginalsUpper West SideNew York CityManhattan
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