by: Andrea Nathanson, R.N. It is that time of season again when we are
confronted with snow shoveling. Please keep in mind the following before
engaging in any shoveling if you are over 50 years old or if you have
any health conditions that could be affected by snow shoveling.
- Snow shoveling puts a strain on the heart. People have suffered from heart
attacks/cardiac occurrences after a big snowstorm and shoveling is often
that cause that has precipitated it. Shoveling causes the muscles to contract
and work and if they are not well conditioned, this puts additional strain
on the heart. The blood vessels are constricting to send more blood to
the straining muscles, causing an increase in blood pressure.
- Dress warmly and warm up your muscles prior to shoveling by stretching
“ this is a very important step “ and one that most people
do not do.
- Keep hydrated. Have a water bottle handy.
- Rest often, take it easy.
- Push the snow rather than lift. Listing is a cardiac stressor, causing
changes in blood pressure and heartbeat.
- Do not hold your breath “ sometimes when lifting the snow people
do this without realizing.
- Remember to stop if you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue,
lightheadedness, or nausea.
- Cool down after you have shoveled.
- Dont overdo it. If your body says stop “ Listen! And dont
forget to mingle with neighbors and have fun!