With a fresh wave of storms hitting the Midwest and Northeast, winter-weary folks are gearing up to dig their way out from yet another snowstorm.
Not only can shoveling be onerous, it can be dangerous, too.
According to a new study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, shoveling snow can raise heart rates to dangerous levels after just two minutes.
Wall Street Journal writer Wendy Bounds appeared on "Good Morning America" today to discuss the newest tools – including electric shovels and snow-melting mats – that help make snow cleanup easier and safer.
Today's shovels have gotten a makeover. Rather than just a piece of steel on a stick, they have curved handles and deep scoops for shoveling or pushing snow while putting less strain on your heart and back.
The Ames True Temper SnoBoss has two handles so you don't have to flip your wrist, and there are a couple of grips to accommodate users of different heights. $35
The Sno Wovel has a wheel in it, which allows you to work without too much exertion. $120
The Roof Rake allows you to clear snow from the top of your home without having to send someone up there during the winter. Snow that builds up during the season can cause leaks and damage. $39.99
How many of you leave work, come out of the train station and find your car is covered with snow?
The Ames True Temper AutoBoss shovel folds down to 13 inches so you can keep it into the trunk of your car. $14.99
The Oxo Extendable Twister snowbrush extends so you can clean the entire windshield of your car with minimum fuss. $17.99
These are even easier on the body and are a great option for the estimated 76 million baby boomers who are approaching retirement age, Bounds said.
They work with heavy grade power cords and start with the push of a button. They don't require gasoline, oil or spark plugs, so you won't get fumes on your clothes before you leave for work.
The Toro Power Shovel is almost like a vacuum cleaner. It's good for walkways and patios, too. $100
The Snow Joe electric snow blower can move a lot more snow, so it's ideal for cleaning the driveway. $199 to $250
Snow melting mats take all the hassle out of snow clean up.
HeatTrak snow-melting mats plug into each other. Lay them on your walkway and voila! Melted snow. The mats have shut-off protection if they're punctured, so you won't have to worry about putting something electric into the snow, Bounds added. $39.95 to $99.95 each.
Keeping it green is a great option. One mat has fertilizer in it. "Keep It Green" melting product with fertilizer, $14.99 (8-pound jug).
Bare Ground spray product, $39.95 (one gallon of product and sprayer).
It's important to know what type of snow you'll be cleaning. Light and fluffy snow requires a different technique compared with heavy, wet snow.
1. If it's light and fluffy, you can push it. Start in driveway center and push snow the longest distance to edge of driveway while you're fresh. The path will resemble a gentle arch.
2. Walk back to start (allow your body to recover) and push the longest distance to other side.
3. Go back to start, turn around and work in opposite direction.
4. Repeat this process in a spider web fashion, with passes getting shorter and shorter.