Snow-Shoveling Health Tips as Winter Looms12/14/13
SATURDAY, Dec. 14, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Shoveling snow can
increase your risk of heart attack, and you should take precautions
to protect yourself, an expert says.
"When the temperature outside drops, our blood vessels narrow to prevent our bodies from losing heat," Dr. Holly Andersen, director of education and outreach at the Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, said in a hospital news release. "This is a natural response that can also put people with heart conditions and those involved in strenuous exercise at greater risk of having a heart attack."
Andersen said shoveling snow is one of the most strenuous and
dangerous winter activities. It can boost blood pressure and,
combined with the effects of frigid temperatures, can significantly
increase heart attack risk.
Andersen offered the following advice for safe shoveling and
good heart health this winter:
- Warm up with stretching and light activity before shoveling,
exercising or beginning other strenuous activities.
- Wear a scarf over your mouth and nose when you're shoveling
snow to warm the air you're breathing. Layer clothes beneath a
windproof and waterproof outer shell, which will help maintain body
- Push the snow rather than lift it. This will reduce the risk of
- Take frequent breaks while shoveling to give your muscles --
especially your heart -- a chance to relax. Try sharing the
workload with a friend, which will also ensure that you are not
alone in case of an emergency.
- If you are over 50, overweight, out of shape or have suffered a
heart attack, consult your doctor before shoveling snow or starting
any exercise routine.
Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for
winter health and safety.
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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.