Shoveling snow can be dangerous

Weather News

(WDIV) It might look pretty falling down, but snow is a health hazard many people underestimate due to shoveling being far more strenuous than many forms of exercise.

Just like you would not think of running the same distance when you are 50 compared to when you were 20, shoveling that same driveway becomes a different beast.

Shoveling is more of an isometric exercise, meaning you put a lot of strain on muscles without moving as much. Especially for your arms and upper body, pumping blood through contracted muscles puts more strain on your heart.

The weather also challenges your heart. Blood vessels tighten, impairing the flow of blood.

The cold air constricts your airways making breathing more difficult and you are wearing heavier clothing to stay warm.

Even the time of day most people shovel can play a role. Cardiac risks are higher during morning hours before you have had a chance to fully wake up and warm up.

To reduce your risk, consider not shoveling if you do not exercise regularly, if you have known heart or lung disease, if you are significantly overweight, or you have concerns about your heart health.

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