It’s not as glamorous as skiing — but shoveling snow is another physical activity specific to winter, and it can pose hazards to your back and your heart.
“Shoveling snow can be very dangerous for many people, particularly if the right precautions aren’t taken,” says Shick Yu, MD, an Internal Medicine Physican at Westchester Medical Center. “Those who have heart disease or high blood pressure or a history of heart attacks should not attempt shoveling themselves. Working to the point of exhaustion — becoming short of breath or feeling tightness in your chest — is another danger. And like any other workout, shoveling can raise your heart rate or blood pressure dramatically if you fail to stretch, warm up or pace yourself. Be extra cautious shoveling in the early morning, when heart attacks most commonly occur.