Before we engage in any type of exercise, most of us are careful to prepare our bodies for the strenuous activity we plan to do. Yet there are many instances where we neglect to do so, generally because we don’t think of these activities as ‘exercise’. Shoveling snow is considered a chore at best, and a huge inconvenience at worst. Since we don’t conceive of this activity as ‘exercise’ very few of us take the time to properly prepare ourselves for it. This has led to injuries both minor and serious, as well as death even in people who are in relatively good health. Why is shoveling snow on your own so dangerous, and what problems can it lead to?
Shoveling your own snow is hard on your heart. In fact, snow that is heavy and wet is sometimes referred to as ‘heart attack snow’ because of the effects that the activity and the climate can have on our heart and blood vessels. Most people don’t take time to warm up before shoveling. This is tantamount to jumping on a treadmill that is set to a high speed while taking time to warm up beforehand is like starting at a slow speed and gradually working your way up.
Since most of us are in a hurry to get the snow off of our driveways and sidewalks we like to use bigger shovels that can carry more. Trying to carry this heavier load puts an additional strain on us. Not only are we not preparing ourselves for physical activity, but we’re also expecting our bodies to do more than they might be capable of even with a warm-up. The alternative is to use smaller shovels that can hold less, but this takes us time that many of us don’t have.
The climate itself is also a contributing factor. Exposure to cold air is known to worsen all sorts of chronic health problems such as asthma, chronic rhinitis, and high blood pressure. This is because cold air constricts the blood vessels, making it harder for your body to get oxygen to your heart. Your heart is already working harder because of the heavy lifting and constant movement, and if you add the constricted blood vessels you are at very high risk for a heart attack.
Back pain is extremely common and can be attributed to all sorts of things ranging from poor posture to sleeping in a weird position or on an uncomfortable mattress. Most of us can take a painkiller to deal with the ache and get on with our day. Back injury is a completely different story though, and it can have us on the sidelines for weeks or even months depending on the extent of the damage and which part of the back was affected. The movements used to shovel snow definitely give our arms and legs a workout but our backs take the brunt of it, especially if we’re not lifting properly. The rule of thumb is to lift heavy things with our legs, not our backs, but we tend to forget this nugget of health wisdom when we’re shoveling snow. This is especially true if shoveling your own snow means shoveling snow on your own, rather than with the help of a neighbor or a family member who can help us remain mindful of this to avoid injuring ourselves.
Even if we don’t seriously injure our backs while shoveling snow, the back pain that it can cause us might lead to greater injury later on if not properly tended to. Chronic back pain is often caused by repeated heavy lifting and movements that put a strain on back muscles and spinal ligaments. In other words, what might seem like a little extra hard work now can prevent us from being able to safely shovel snow again in the future.
Slipping and Falling
No matter how careful we are to avoid it, ice is everywhere. Oftentimes we don’t even know it’s there until we lose our balance, as it usually hides under the snow that we’re trying to shovel. Slips and falls aren’t necessarily a major health hazard in and of themselves, but under certain conditions, they can be very dangerous. After all, that ice is accumulating on driveways and sidewalks, but how many of us wear bike helmets or knee and elbow pads when we shovel?
Slips and falls do become a major health hazard for specific populations, however, namely senior citizens for whom they can be lethal. Even slips and falls that aren’t fatal can result in broken bones and muscular injuries.
Make This Winter a Victory
We go to great lengths to bundle up and stay warm in the winter, but the cold isn’t the only potential danger that we face in the wintertime. The risks associated with shoveling snow on your own are quite high, and unfortunately, many of us aren’t mindful of them at the moment or even aware of them in the first place. Fortunately for all of us these accidents and injuries can be easily avoided with help from Victory Lawnscape, who provides year-round lawn care and maintenance services for Michigan homeowners just like you. Get in touch with our team today for a free quote, and tell us how we can make this coming winter a victory for you and yours.
Get An Estimate and Understand Pricing
If a price sounds too good to be true, chances are that is because it is. Avoid any ‘bargain’ pricing no matter how tempting those numbers might be. Going with a snow removal company that offers these kinds of price packages will, more likely than not, lead to you having to call in someone else later on. Bargain price packages are just another way of saying that the work they offer is going to be ineffective in the long run, the equipment that they use is inefficient, or their insurance is not up to par.
While most companies charge by the length of the driveway and how difficult it will be to remove snow from that particular area. Others charge based on total snowfall, with a flat rate for the depth of the snow and additional charges for every extra inch. Then are those that use a flat rate for the season as a whole no matter how many times you need to use their services. Some will also charge extra for doing your sidewalks or handling ice removal. Anticipate how often you think you will need to give them a call, and calculate the expenses for the worst-case scenario (multiple blizzards, an ice-covered driveway, etc) to see who is best suited for both your needs and your budget – without sacrificing one for the other.
Ask For References and Read Reviews
When customers are dissatisfied with the service they receive -whether it is at a restaurant, clothing store, or from a snow removal company- they are quick to take to the internet about it. Check out sites such as Google business reviews to see what others have to say about a company before you hire them. Of course, not everyone who takes to the internet to share their opinion is to be believed, but if a company has numerous poor reviews and one or two-star ratings, consider someone else.
If you would rather get feedback from someone you know personally then talk to your neighbors and ask which companies they prefer, and why. Not only do you get insight from someone you know and trust, whatever companies they recommend might already be doing work in your neighborhood. You can keep an eye out for their vehicle and watch them work to get a feel for how capable and reliable they are.
Look At the Snow Removal Company’s Equipment
No matter how reasonable the pricing might appear there are still ways that snow removal companies can try to rip off unsuspecting customers. One such way is to charge by the hour for their services and only to show up with snow shovels. Ask about the equipment that they use and, if possible, try to see it for yourself. Is the equipment safe for your yard? Does it appear to be in good shape, or is it looking clunky and ready to fall apart? You want to make sure the company you hire is taking your particular yard into consideration. Victory only uses shovels and light equipment to ensure we don’t ruin anything in your yard. Where big trucks and snowplows have a tendency to rip up lawns and can damage surfaces.
Make Sure the Snow Removal Company Is Insured
Consumers are prone to prioritizing their budget over their needs, which can lead to making some more judgment calls in the interest of saving a few dollars. Just remember that you get what you paid for, and if paying more for a snow removal company guarantees to work with someone who has adequate insurance coverage then there can be no doubt that they are worth every penny. Ice and snow can be very risky and the gamble simply is not worth it.
Learn The Emergency Snow Removal Plan
What works for removing a few inches off of the pavement is not going to cut it during a blizzard, and it certainly is not going to work with a storm so intense that the entire block loses power. Make sure that the snow removal company you hire can suit all of your needs, not just satisfy your immediate concerns. Different weather conditions will call for different equipment, driving routes, and other resources. Aside from learning what their plans are, see if they have a policy for updates and communication regarding these types of events. The more informed they are able to keep you, the better.
Communication is at the heart of customer service. Excellent communication is at the heart of excellent customer service, and Victory Lawnscape is committed to providing you with nothing short of excellence. We guarantee our customers upfront pricing with no hidden or unexplained fees, scheduled appointment times, and a free estimate. Contact us today by phone or email and tell us how we can help you with your lawn care needs, any time of year.