Shoveling snow will increase your heart rate and blood pressure while the cold air vasoconstricts the blood vessels. This will decrease the blood and oxygen supply to your heart. Even such things as walking when it is cold out, walking over snow drifts or pushing a snow blower can increase risk of heart attack.
People at higher risk for a heart attack include those with
- A history heart disease
- Those who smoke
- Those with a sedentary life style.
Healthy tips before you shovel the snow
- Try not to drink coffee or smoke which will vasoconstrict your blood vessels prior to shoveling the snow as this will decrease the blood supply to your heart.
- Drink more fluids as you are more likely to become dehydrated when you exercise.
- Try to avoid large meals before shoveling as more blood will go to your stomach and less will do to your heart.
- Dress warmly. Consider wearing a hat as warm air escapes through your head. Make sure your neck is covered as well to decrease drafts.
- Breathe through your nose and try to cover your mouth as breathing in cold air increases vasoconstriction.
- Get used to the cold air before you start shoveling rather than shoveling right away.
- Shovel smaller amounts of snow at a time. It will take you longer to shovel but there will be less strain on your heart.
- Take frequent breaks so that you do not over exert yourself.
The American heart Associations recommends that you pay attention to your body. Any chest pressure or arm pain is concerning when shoveling, medical attention should be sought. Shortness of breath and dizziness may also be signs of a heart attack.
More about heart disease
The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up: A Breakthrough Medical Plan to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease