Stay Safe While Shoveling Snow: What You Need to Know

Snow Shoveling© Cekovska / Getty Images / Canva

Snow shoveling can be a daunting task, especially for those of us who are not used to the physical exertion it requires. But did you know that snow shoveling can also put you at risk for serious health complications? It’s true – snow shoveling carries a number of risks, from heart attacks to back pain. In today’s article, we’ll discuss what you need to know about snow shoveling and how to stay safe while doing it.

Snow Shoveling

Snow shoveling is an activity that involves moving large amounts of snow from one place to another. This activity requires both physical strength and stamina, as well as the right equipment. The most common type of snow shovel is the long-handled shovel with a curved blade. This type of shovel allows the user to move more snow with less effort, making it easier on the back. Other types of snow removal tools include hand-held scoops and electric blowers.

The Dangers of Snow Shoveling for Heart Health

Shoveling heavy snow presents a unique set of challenges that can put your heart at risk. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), cold temperatures can increase blood pressure and constrict coronary arteries, combined with higher heart rate from extra physical effort, increasing the risk for acute cardiac events like a heart attack or stroke in people not used to regular exercise prior to shoveling heavy snow. AHA warns that older adults, smokers and those with existing cardiovascular conditions are particularly vulnerable when engaging in such activities during winter months when temperatures are lower than normal due to weather conditions or climate change.

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Preventive Measures To Avoid Risk While Shoveling Snow

Fortunately, there are some preventive measures you can take in order to reduce your risk while still getting the job done safely. Experts recommend following these tips in order to reduce your risk while performing outdoor activities like snow shoveling in cold weather conditions:

  • Warm up before beginning any strenuous activity;
  • Dress appropriately by wearing layers that will help keep your body warm;
  • Take frequent breaks;
  • Alternate hands when possible;
  • Use good posture when carrying heavy loads;
  • Use good technique when lifting, and
  • Don’t overexert yourself by trying to move too much snow at once – break it up into smaller tasks over several days if necessary!

Additionally, managing stress levels is important when performing activities outdoors in cold weather conditions because high levels of stress can contribute significantly to increased heart rate which puts added strain on already weakened hearts due to cold temperatures causing constriction in coronary arteries.

Snow shoveling can be a difficult task but it doesn’t have to put your health at risk if you are aware of the potential risks associated with it and follow the preventive measures outlined above while doing so safely. Taking time out regularly throughout the day will help manage stress levels while reducing chances of overexertion that could lead to serious health issues like sudden cardiac arrest or strokes due to increased heart rate caused by extremely cold temperatures combined with strenuous physical activity required during the shoveling process itself. Being aware of potential risks associated with winter outdoor activities such as shoveling heavy snow should help keep everyone safe this winter season!

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If you experience chest pain or pressure, lightheadedness, heart palpitations, or irregular heart rhythms while shoveling, stop the activity immediately and if the sensations do not subside shortly after stopping, it is critical to call 911 for medical attention. Additionally, if someone collapses during snow shoveling, it is imperative to act swiftly by calling for help and starting Hands-Only CPR on the unresponsive person with no pulse. To learn more about health risks in association with cold weather and cardiovascular health information, head to Heart.org.

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This article is intended for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only and should not be construed as advice, guidance or counsel. It is provided without warranty of any kind.