While the calendar tells us spring and breakup are just around the corner, the sights outside our windows tell us we still have a ways to go before we're free of old man winter's grasp.
Recent snowfall left many residents frustrated and exasperated, not to mention stuck or trapped by the several inches or feet of precipitation.
However tempting it may be to rush through daily snow shoveling duties, we'd like to take a minute to remind folks to slow down and remember that while shoveling can be good exercise, it can also be dangerous for residents who take on too much.
The National Safety Council recommends individuals over the age of 40, or those who are otherwise inactive, to be careful. Those who have a history of heart trouble shouldn't shovel without a doctor's permission.
For all the rest of us, here are a few more tips to make sure a chore doesn't turn into a regrettable injury:
* Go slow. Like other weight-lifting activities, shoveling can raise one's heart rate and blood pressure dramatically. Take breaks, and warm up before tackling the driveway or other areas.
* Shovel only freshly fallen snow. Powdery snow is much lighter and easier to move than the wetter and older variety.
* Push, don't throw. As you shovel, remember to push and slide -- it's easier than constant lifting the snow out of the way. If you need to throw it out of the way, don't pick up too much at once.
* Lift with your legs bent and not your back. By bending and sitting into the movement, you'll keep your spine upright and less stressed, letting your shoulders, torso and thighs do the work.
Now is also the time when drivers should be especially careful. Snow berms are particularly high in some areas and are often the height of school children. Everyone should remember to slow down and take a few extra looks to make sure cars or pedestrians aren't in your path.
Area roads are still being cleaned up and we'd encourage residents to slow down and remember that spring is on the way soon enough.
In short: While it is tempting to get in the "get it over quickly" mindset as the winter drags on, it is important residents keep safety at the forefront whether shoveling, driving or otherwise.