snow shoveling
Local residents shovel snow in front of their houses. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Many people spent days shoveling snow after the blizzard over the weekend, but did you know that activity has tragic consequences and it's not always about age but more about a person's fitness level? According to CBS, at least 45 snowstorm-related deaths have been reported and more than a dozen of them in people who suffered heart attacks while shoveling snow. “The people that are at risk are a certain population: those who are over 55, who are sedentary, who have known coronary heart disease or risk factors," Dr. Tara Narula, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, said.

 snowstorm 5
New York Fire Department firefighters stock up on salt before New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio speaks about the city's preparedness for an upcoming snowstorm at the Spring Street salt shed on January 21, 2016 in New York, NY. Winter Storm Jonas is expected to hit New York City between Friday afternoon and Saturday morning and the National Weather Service recently included New York City on a blizzard watch. (Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)

The heavy task, with intense physical exercise and cold temperatures, can be a fatal mix for some individuals, "shoveling snow is a very vigorous exercise and primarily called an isometric form of exercise. You're straining the muscles but not really moving a lot. Isometric exercise puts more strain on the heart. It has to pump harder and faster against increased resistance in the body. That resistance comes from contracting muscles in the body," Dr. Steven Bird, an emergency medicine physician at UMass Memorial Medical Center explained, "in the cold, your blood vessels contract and it may cause the pressure in your arteries to increase. Therefore, the heart has to pump against that increased resistance."

Read some pracctical tips from The American Heart Association before you grab that shovel :

  • Take frequent rest breaks during shoveling so you don’t overstress your heart.
  • Don’t eat a heavy meal prior or soon after shoveling.
  • Use a small shovel or consider a snow thrower. The act of lifting heavy snow can raise blood pressure acutely during the lift.
  • Don’t drink alcoholic beverages before or immediately after shoveling.
  • If you have a medical condition, don’t exercise on a regular basis or are middle aged or older, meet with your doctor prior to the first anticipated snowfall.

© 2023 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.