alive logo
foodfamilylifestylebeautysustainabilityhealthimmunity

Does snow shovelling increase your cardiovascular risk?

Share

Does snow shovelling  increase your cardiovascular risk?

Researchers have found that male smokers with a family history of premature cardiovascular disease are at higher risk for a heart attack when shovelling snow.

Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow! It’s time to get the shovel out. But if you’re a male smoker with a family history of premature cardiovascular disease, you may want to pay the neighbour’s kid to shovel the driveway for you.

Although it’s a common belief that snow shovelling causes heart attacks, it’s a subject that hasn’t been scientifically investigated until recently. Researchers at Queen’s University analyzed Kingston General Hospital records for the past two winters.

They discovered that 7 percent of patients (35 out of 500) who attended the hospital complaining of heart problems experienced symptoms while shovelling snow. Researchers said this figure could “easily double” due to the fact that not all records may have noted the patient was shovelling snow.

High-risk shovellers
Individuals at highest risk when shovelling snow

  • males (31 of the 35 heart patients)
  • those with a family history of premature cardiovascular problems (20 of the 35 patients)
  • smokers (16 of the 35 patients)

Researchers rate family history and smoking as the two most important factors because they weren’t able to control for how much shovelling men do compared to women.

Snow removal safety tips
These tips will help protect your heart when digging out from the next winter snowstorm:

  • Shovel at least one to two hours after eating.
  • Warm up before you begin (take a short walk or walk on the spot).
  • Take your time (shovel for 5 to 7 minutes with a 2 to 3 minute break in between. It’s like interval training!)
  • Rest as often as you need to.
  • Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
  • Use a sturdy, but lightweight, shovel.
  • Spray the shovel blade with a silicone-based lubricant (snow will slide right off).
  • Push snow whenever possible rather than lift it.
  • Walk to where you're piling snow rather than throwing it.
Ad
Advertisement
Advertisement

READ THIS NEXT

Wisdom of the Heart

Wisdom of the Heart

The faces and facets of EQ

Deena Kara Shaffer

Deena Kara Shaffer

10 Reasons to Eat More Cranberries

10 Reasons to Eat More Cranberries

This small fruit comes packed with big benefits

Laura Newton

Laura Newton