While many of us love a beautiful snowfall, getting out the shovel is often less enjoyable. In addition to bearing through the cold, shoveling snow can also put your heart at risk for being overworked. Strenuous activities, paired with cold temperatures, create a hazardous environment for your body that can lead to serious health complications. Next time you have to get out the shovel, use these tips for keeping your heart healthy while shoveling snow.
Take frequent breaks
While shoveling, be sure to take breaks at regular intervals. Assess your body during this time, paying attention to how your heart is feeling. If strained or out of breath, take a break and resume shoveling at a later time.
Use small shovels
Heavy lifting can cause strain on the heart and raise blood pressure. Avoid using large shovels, which easily become weighed down with large quantities of snow. By focusing on smaller scoops, you’ll have an easier time lifting and protecting your body. Pushing, instead of lifting snow, is also a healthy approach.
Know the common signs of a heart attack
Knowing how to recognize a heart attack is crucial for maintaining your heart health. Memorize the five common signs of a heart attack to ensure you know when to seek help. If you suddenly experience any of these symptoms while shoveling, call 911, immediately.
Avoid large meals and alcohol before shoveling
Eating an excessive amount before shoveling can add an extra load to your heart. Additionally, alcohol can provide a false sensation of warmness, misleading your body in cold temperatures. Instead of drinking alcohol, consume plenty of water to hydrate yourself before going outside.
Be aware of hypothermia
The number one cause of hypothermia-related death is heart failure. Dressing in warm layers and wearing a hat can help trap heat close to your body, ensuring warmth. Signs of hypothermia include sudden exhaustion, confusion, shallow breathing, or shivering. Experiencing any of these symptoms can indicate a threateningly low body temperature.
Keeping these tips in mind while shoveling snow can ensure your heart remains healthy during the winter season. For more information on cardiac health, visit mercy.com or call 513-952-5000 to find a provider near you today.