Dig This! – Snow Shoveling May Not Be A Good Idea!
Monday February 3, 2020
Each year, shoveling snow sends more than 11,000 people to the hospital.
While most have orthopedic injuries, 7 percent have cardiac problems, and many of these are heart attacks. Doctors advise against shoveling if you are older, have heart disease or think you might. “Shoveling snow is hard work,” says Cleveland Clinic cardiovascular surgeon A. Marc Gillinov, MD, co-author of the hit book “Heart 411”. “People who have coronary artery disease should not perform strenuous shoveling of snow. It can trigger a heart attack.”
If you must shovel; and are up to it, start the right way. Warm up gradually—at least 5-10 minutes. Consider wearing a scarf around the mouth in very cold conditions, as this will warm inhaled air. Start with small loads of snow and keep them manageable—especially when its wet and heavy. Use a smaller shovel so that your lifts are much, much smaller and can be managed for a long time without getting exhausted. Breathe throughout the entire process of gathering, lifting and throwing the snow—don’t hold your breath as you exert effort.
As you warm up, some greater effort can be considered, but easy does it. When you’ve won the battle, cool down—walk it off for a few minutes, perhaps inspecting the shoveling efforts of a few neighbors before going inside to a warm house.
Some other tips:
Push snow. Don't lift it unless you absolutely have to. And if you have to lift snow, use the stronger leg muscles for support, not the back.
Don't throw snow over your shoulder or to the side. The back is least able to tolerate torque and twisting.
Shovel early and often. This keeps the amount of snow that has to be removed to a minimum. Plus, getting at the stuff quickly keeps it from freezing or partially melting and becoming harder to remove.
Use the proper equipment; from a snow shovel (not a garden one) to boots.
Limit snow-shoveling sessions. Most of us don't put in more than 30-60 minutes of exercise, and snow shoveling should follow suit.