Itâ??s a daily activity when you live in one of the snowiest places in the country. Shoveling the snow can be good exercise for those already fit, but for people with pre-existing heart conditions, it can be dangerous.
According to the Chicago Tribune , four deaths have been reported in the city that are linked to shoveling-induced heart attacks.
Exercise physiologist at Portage Health, Greg Scharf, said the consistent lifting motion can put tension on your heart.
â??When youâ??re looking at lifting or straining, it increases the blood pressure; compounded with the cold weather outside, it constricts the blood vessels,â?? explained Scharf. â??It tends to not to be cardiovascular, and thatâ??s why itâ??s a bit more dangerous than, say, exercising, especially those that have high risk factors.â??
Scharf said those who have had heart attacks, bypass surgeries, stents, valve repairs, or even family history of heart conditions are especially susceptible to injuries while shoveling. He said because many people become more inactive during the winter, itâ??s important to prepare yourself before doing any heavy lifting.
â??The biggest thing to have when youâ??re doing any type of activity like this is actually good core strength, and thatâ??s one thing that a lot of people lack as well and makes it more difficult and more strenuous on the body,â?? he said. â??The core strength isnâ??t there to stabilize the body when theyâ??re moving snow.â??
Scharf recommends warming up before you shovel, taking breaks when needed, and for those with pre-existing conditions, leave the shoveling to the younger crowd.
â??There are many facilities out there that make a career out of moving snow for people, so if youâ??re not a conditioned person, put the shovel away and leave that to the younger population,â?? Scharf said.