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Healthy Lifestyles that Last Blog

With great 'powder' comes great responsibility

child walking down snow covered steps

Thinking of skipping shoveling after a big snowstorm? I get it – it’s time-consuming, it’s cold, it feels never ending during these Midwest winters, and if you don’t warm up properly (see blog one!), it can leave you feeling sore, or worse: injured!

In the Quad Cities, millions of rides each year are taken on public transportation; namely, public city busses. This number doesn’t even include those individuals who are walking to their jobs or schools without public transportation.

This means, several million times a year, someone is walking from their home to a bus stop, school, job, or other location around the area. Consider who you might be helping when you take the extra time to ensure your sidewalks are clear.

Children: Some children may need to walk a few blocks to get to their schools. Without clear sidewalks, these children either risk slipping and falling or need to walk in the street – which can be far more dangerous. Having to navigate around unclear sidewalks leaves them out in the Midwest elements longer than they need to be.

Adults: Many adults rely on either walking to get to a bus stop or walking to get to work, school, grocery stores, and anywhere else they might need to go. Trying to walk over sidewalks that have not been cleared can again be dangerous and time-consuming, and there could be unforeseen consequences to them not being able to get where they need to go in a timely matter.

Older adults: Multiple risk factors face adults as they get older in regards to snow and ice. Older adults are more likely to fall than younger people, and the health risks of those falls can lead to far worse outcomes for older adults, as well; including outcomes like fractured bones, spinal injuries, and serious brain injuries. Consider not only taking the time to clear your sidewalks but offer assistance to your older neighbors who might be struggling to clear their own safely.

People trying to stay active: People may be avoiding crowded gyms even though they are open to the public. Some individuals may still prefer to get outdoors for their physical activity. Keeping sidewalks clear allows them to stay active without risk of injury or needing to get into the street.

Fire Departments and those they protect (even you!): By taking the time to clear away extra snow around fire hydrants in your yard, you help fire departments access them immediately, in case of emergency. Every second counts for them to save a life and a home, and you could be the one to help make that difference.

Share a selfie on social media with the hashtag #SnowHero to show off how you’re helping by clearing sidewalks for your neighbors. Being a #SnowHero is a great way to get out and enjoy fresh air, get some physical activity and help keep your community walking spaces safe for others to enjoy.


Catherine Bass, B.S., Child Abuse Council of the Quad Cities

Geriatric winter falls: When a simple bump on the ice can be serious - Mayo Clinic

For more information about proper form when shoveling, warm-up exercises and sore muscle remedies, check out the first blog post, Prevent post-shoveling aches and pains.