Shoveling snow puts tremendous stress on the body, including the heart. As a result, shoveling-related heart attacks are all-too-common occurrences after a snowstorm. In fact, as many as 100 people in the U.S. die each year while shoveling snow, according to the National Safety Council. Shoveling can be especially dangerous if you’re out of shape, have a fairly sedentary lifestyle, are overweight, smoke or have a heart condition.
While most injuries associated with shoveling snow involve the lower back, those involving the heart can be far more serious. Be good to yourself during and after a snowstorm by following these tips:
• As much as possible, push the snow—don’t lift it.
• If you must lift the snow, lift with your legs, not your back.
• Use a small, lightweight shovel, or only half-fill a large shovel. Plastic shovels weigh less than metal ones.
• Take your time, and don’t push yourself. Take rest breaks every 15-20 minutes.
• Try to keep up with the snowfall. It’s easier to move smaller amounts of snow periodically throughout a snowstorm than to wait until it’s over and move all the snow at once.
• Don’t eat, smoke or drink alcohol while shoveling.
• Stay hydrated by drinking water while shoveling.