Here are four heart-healthy tips to keep in mind when shoveling snow:
- Take frequent rest breaks, so you don’t over-stress your heart. Pay attention to how your body feels during those breaks.
- Don’t eat a heavy meal before or soon after shoveling. Eating a large meal can put an extra load on your heart.
- Use a small shovel or consider a snowblower. The act of lifting heavy snow can raise blood pressure acutely during the lift. It is safer to lift smaller amounts more times than to lug a few huge shovelfuls of snow. When possible, push the snow.
- Don’t drink alcoholic beverages before or immediately after shoveling. Alcohol may increase a person’s sensation of warmth and cause them to underestimate the extra strain their body is under in the cold.
Learn the heart attack warning signs, listen to your body, and remember this: Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, have it checked out (tell a doctor about your symptoms). Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives — maybe your own. Don’t wait more than five minutes to call 9-1-1.
Note: Consult a doctor before shoveling snow if you have a medical condition, don’t exercise regularly, or are middle-aged or older.
Next Steps and Useful Resources: