American Heart Association says you should take precautions when shoveling to prevent heart attacks

(Dane Richardson)
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 10:05 AM EDT
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BINGHAMTON (WBNG) - Tuesday marked some of the largest snowfall of the year in New York, especially in the eastern portion of the state, prompting many schools and businesses to close.

For those shoveling, there are some heart concerns among older adults, particularly men, who should be aware of potential issues when partaking in the activity.

A release from the American Heart Association detailed a study in Canada that showed that heavy snow shoveling increased the chance of men dying from a heart attack by 34%.

Studies have shown that exercise in cold weather can increase immunity and burn more calories. This is especially relevant to those with pre-existing conditions and individuals who do not exercise regularly.

“This is a time where we do see more, unfortunately, cardiovascular events,” said Kristy Smorol, Communications Director for the American Heart Association. “We see snow-shoveling heart attacks unfortunately far too often.”

Some effective ways to combat the cold and stimulate the body while shoveling are to bundle up and stay hydrated, something that is often associated with the summer months but is just as important during the winter.

Shoveling can take an extended period of time depending on the amount of snow but taking a rest in between can be a benefit.

“One of the problems with shoveling is that we want to just get it all done as soon as possible,” said Smorol. “So, if you’re going to be shoveling, use a smaller shovel.”