After a blizzard strikes, car-reliant commuters typically hunker down at home to avoid slippery roads. But according to physicians, plenty of danger lurks in their driveways. In 2012, more than 34,000 people visited the ER with snow removal-related medical problems, which range from back and shoulder injuries to heart attacks and strokes.
Experts say that snowbound homeowners underestimate the physical difficulty of digging out their driveways. The wintry chore is a moderate physical workout in disguise, and many homeowners simply aren’t in great shape. If you regularly skip the gym, you’re more likely to hurt yourself while wielding a heavy shovel.
Doctors advise people with a history of heart problems or other medical conditions to avoid shoveling—but for the rest of us, a gadget called the Snow Wolf might make the chore a little less arduous. As Good Housekeeping reports, it’s a long-handled, lever-like shovel attached to a large wheel that lets you clear a path in a single pass.
According to Snow Wolf’s manufacturers, experts at the University of Massachusetts independently studied the invention and found that the wheeled shovel lowered test subjects' risk for lower back injuries by around 85 percent (and reduced overall physical exertion by as much as 80 percent) when compared to regular shovels. That being said, the Snow Wolf's $180 sticker price makes it much more expensive than a standard snow shovel—but some may argue that a healthy heart or a pain-free back is priceless.
[h/t Good Housekeeping]