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Winter Shoveling Can Bring On A Heart Attack Exercise Caution

(Photo by Davis Turner/Getty Images)

When a lot of snow falls, and you are in a hurry to get your car out of your driveway, one tends to shovel fast. Sure it builds cardio, but isn’t always the work out your heart needs. Here are some things to remember.

According to a couple of studies I read, most people that shovel usually don’t exercise very often. When shoveling take it slow and take little scoops. According to the study, the people that get a heart attack shoveling, taking too much on the end of the shovel tends to overwork the person. If that person is really out of shape it could bring on a heart attack as well as hurt your back.

Age has something to do with your risk of heart attack too. If you are up in your years, take it slow, or pay someone to do it for you.

Another study I read says pushing a snow blower too hard can give you a heart attack. Let the snow blower do the work, run it in a lower gear and let it pull you.

According to Metrohealth, here are some Tips for Protecting Your Heart

Before You Shovel Snow

  • Talk to your doctor before you take on this task of snow shoveling
  • Avoid shoveling immediately after you awaken as most heart attacks occur early in the morning when blood is more prone to clotting. Wait for at least 30 minutes and warm up
  • Do not eat heavy meal before shoveling: blood gets diverted form the heart to the stomach
  • Warm up your muscles before starting by walking for a few minutes or marching in place
  • Do not drink coffee or smoke for at least one hour before or one hour after shoveling or during breaks. These are stimulants and elevate your blood pressure and heart rate

While Shoveling Snow

  • Use a small shovel: shovel many small loads instead of heavy ones
  • Begin slowly and take frequent, 15 minute breaks
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration
  • Dress in layers, to avoid hypothermia (low body temperature) or overheating
  • Cover your head and neck (50% body heat lost thru head and neck)
  • Cover your mouth (breathing cold air can cause angina or trigger breathing problems
  • Watch for warning signs of a heart attack, lightheadedness, dizziness, being short of breath or if you have tightness or burning in chest, neck, arms or back. If you think you are having a heart attack call 911.

From Cardiologist Grace Cater, MD


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