|Although it is one of the least favorite
parts of the winter months, shoveling snow
can be a good way to fit in moderate physical
activity. If you shovel for 30 minutes, you
can burn around 200 calories. However, snow
shoveling is very demanding on the body and
can be dangerous if the right precautions
aren't taken. Snow shoveling can cause back
strain and may even cause a quick increase
in heart rate and blood pressure, leading
to a sometimes-fatal heart attack. |
Anyone who has ever had a heart
disease, high blood pressure
or high cholesterol,
should consult a doctor before
snow. A sedentary lifestyle can
put you at
risk, so very strenuous snow
cause the heart to over-exert
Here are some snow shoveling
- If you are inactive and have a history of
heart trouble, talk to your doctor before
you take on the task of shoveling snow.
- Avoid caffeine or nicotine before and during
shoveling. These are stimulants, which may
increase your heart rate and cause your blood
vessels to constrict, placing extra stress
on the heart.
- Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is just
as big an issue in winter months as it is
in the summer.
- Dress in several layers so you can remove
a layer as needed.
- Warm up your muscles before shoveling. Stretch
the muscles in your arms and legs, because
warm muscles will work more efficiently and
be less likely to be injured.
- Pick the right shovel for you. A smaller
blade will require you to lift less snow,
putting less strain on your body. Push-style
shovels can all but eliminate lifting.
- Begin shoveling slowly, pace yourself, and
take breaks as needed.
- Protect your back from injury by lifting
correctly. Stand with your feet about hip
width for balance and keep the shovel close
to your body. Bend from the knees (not the
back) and tighten your stomach muscles as
you lift the snow. Avoid twisting movements.
If you need to move the snow to one side
reposition your feet to face the direction
the snow will be going.
- Create some distance between the hands. This
will give you more leverage and make it easier
to lift snow.
- Pick up smaller loads of snow. If you're
shoveling deep snow (a foot or more), shovel
two or three inches at a time off the top.
- Where possible, push the snow to the side.
- Stop if you feel any pain.
And most importantly, know the
of a heart attack. These may
pain, shoulder, neck or arm pain;
fainting, sweating or nausea;
of breath. If you think you're
having a heart
attack, seek medical help immediately.