Shoveling snow is one of the top health hazards of winter, up there with falling on ice, ice falling on you, and freezing to death if you’re not careful. Today’s Non Sequitur cartoon shows us the comedy behind clearing the driveway and coming face to face with the Grim Reaper.
Medical experts tell us that shoveling snow is a known trigger for heart attacks. Here are some helpful tips from a blog post by Patrick J. Skerrett, Executive Editor of Harvard Health.
If you need to clear away snow, keep in mind that this activity can be more strenuous than exercising full throttle on a treadmill. That’s no problem if you are healthy and fit. But it can be dangerous if you aren’t. A study from the University of Virginia Medical Center suggests that anyone who has received an artery-opening stent in the preceding year or so might want to be especially careful about clearing snow. Here are some tips for safe shoveling:
- Warm up your muscles before starting.
- Shovel many light loads instead of fewer heavy ones.
- Take frequent breaks.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Don’t feel that you need to clear every speck of snow from your property.
- Head indoors right away if your chest starts hurting, you feel lightheaded or short of breath, your heart starts racing, or some other physical change makes you nervous. If you think you are having a heart attack, call 911 or your local emergency number.
If you are out of shape or worried about your heart, hire a teenage neighbor. He or she could use the money, and probably the exercise.