There are a number of hazards associated with snowstorms. Trees may fall down and take power lines with them. Roads and sidewalks may become slick and icy. Air travel may be halted, and of course – you may need to shovel your sidewalk. Although this is mostly considered a mundane, if bothersome and annoying chore, it can pose a very real health threat to some people.
Snow can be heavy, even if it’s just the powdery, “dry” snow. Wet snow is even heavier and more cumbersome to shovel. As many people know, shoveling snow is exhausting, especially wet snow. This overexertion, especially in the cold, is dangerous for the elderly and those living with cardiac conditions. The quick transition from sitting on the couch watching Christmas movies with a cup of hot cocoa to shoveling tens or even hundreds of pounds of snow can put a major strain on one’s heart. Cold weather can increase heart rate, increase blood pressure, and make blood more likely to clot – the main cause of a heart attack.
There are a few ways to keep your heart health in mind when faced with the task of shoveling snow. First, try warming up a little bit before starting to shovel. Not only does this prepare your body for the strain of shoveling, it might help get your muscles ready and alleviate aches and pains later. You could also fill your shovel a little bit less/more often, as opposed to shoveling fewer and heavier snow loads. Do you live on a street with an elderly person? Offer to take care of their driveway and sidewalk for them! Are you an elderly person? Offer a local teenager or college student home for break some money to shovel your sidewalk and driveway! More tips can be found at this link: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/protect-your-heart-when-shoveling-snow-201101151153
©2019 Meteorologist Margaret Orr