Mother Nature – Snow Hazards & Your Heart Health

When old Man Winter in upon us and for many a blistering snowy one the toll it takes on your heart health often goes unseen. Yes, no warm days and palm trees if you’re luck enough to move south. Days like today I get nostalgic for a place I called home for 8yrs, South Florida. Then I remember the hurricanes and realize Mother Nature does not discriminate.

How can snow be bad for heart health?

The snow can be beautiful and loads of fun, but today, I cannot let my words go without expressing the grave dangers of it as well. In particular the hazards of shoveling snow and the impact on your heart health! I just read that each year 72,000 visits to the ER are related to snow removal. That’s just an inch of snow & temperatures below 20 degrees can cause the death rate amongst men 35-49 to triple!!

The winter & snow shoveling can kill you and put major strain on your heart health! The cold weather causes the blood pressure to rise. As the vessels of the heart narrow while it’s trying to preserve body heat; this causes the heart to work harder pumping blood. To your body shoveling is an exercise its not use to and one that you are not trained for if you do not regularly workout and are physically active. Bottom line-if you have other risk factors and/or are not in shape, shoveling & cold weather can put a very big strain on your heart and can cause a heart attack.

A Michigan State study shows that people who rarely exercise can be up to 30 times more likely to have a heart attack while doing a strenuous activity like shoveling. It also states that although it’s challenging to anyone, fit or not fit.

Signs your at higher at a risk for a heart attack

• Those who previously have had a heart attack

• Those with a history of heart disease

• Those with high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol

• A smoking habit!!!

• A sedentary lifestyle!!

Even if you don’t fall into these categories remember to always use precaution when going outside to shovel. Consider it a workout and dress appropriately, drink plenty of water, warm up with a light cardio exercise indoors first, think of it as a superset and take breaks, and always as in everything we do, please listen to your body!

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