While waking up to a thick layer of heavy snow covering your driveway can be a joy for some, shovelling snow does not excite many people. Experts point to a valid reason for that. This post will help you learn more about snow removal, telling you all the reasons why you should not shovel snow.
The Physical Impact Shovelling Snow Has on Your Body
People need to treat shovelling snow as a physical activity with the same effect as running full speed on a treadmill. When you include the extremely cold weather of Canada’s winters, the activity can cause additional strain on your body.
Since the strenuous activity mostly involves your hands, it is more tasking than leg work. On top of that, a full shovel of snow can weigh as much as 15 pounds. Picture having to bend, lift all this weight, and move it to a different side.
Repeating this can increase cardiovascular stress, especially when you consider that most people who shovel snow often don’t routinely exercise. Also, because people shovel snow in the morning, their circadian rhythms make them more susceptible to cardiovascular issues.
Finally, most of them tend to hold their breaths while lifting the heavy shovel of snow, causing a Valsalva effect, which increases their blood pressure.
The Link Between Shovelling Snow and Heart Attacks
Canadians receive a lot of advice about heart disease and how to manage the condition, from exercise programs to follow and heart-healthy diets to eat. Also, add in the lifestyle advice that some claim will help you reduce the strain under which you place your heart.
While many people might know of the many strenuous activities to avoid, shovelling snow stands out as an activity they probably have not included on that list.
Research has shown that many people—primarily men—require admittance to hospitals with chest pains and other heart problems after shovelling snow. According to the research:
- More men were admitted for heart attacks after snowfalls of over eight inches
- More men died of heart attacks the day following an eight-inch snowfall—this number increases when more snow falls
- The more prolonged snowfall, the higher the number of heart attacks and related deaths among men
Potential Risk Factors of Experiencing a Heart Attack While Shovelling Snow
Several factors have increased the risk of experiencing heart attacks and other heart problems when shovelling snow. Some of these factors include:
- Shovelling snow or pushing a heavy snow blower can increase your blood pressure and heart rate quicker and more dramatically than most other types of exercise
- The excessive use of your arm muscles makes shovelling snow more strenuous
- The cold environment where snow removal happens could cause your blood vessels to constrict
- The sudden, strenuous activity may place your body under a strain for which it is not prepared
In summary, the strenuous activity strains your heart while the cold air increases your blood pressure and constricts your arteries, restricting blood flow. This leads to the formation of blood clots, the gradual shutting down of your heart’s muscle cells, and potential death.
Who Is at Risk of Shovelling-Related Heart Attacks?
Various individuals run a higher risk of experiencing heart attacks when shovelling snow. They include:
- Senior citizens
- Those suffering from a chronic heart condition or coronary artery disease
- People with a history of strokes or heart attacks
- People with hypertension or high cholesterol
Other Reasons Why You Should Not Shovel Snow
If the potential risk of heart attacks and other heart problems was not enough, let’s review some of the many additional reasons why you should not shovel snow:
- Slips and Falls: You might experience poor balance and muscle weakness which increase the risk of falling and getting injured.
- Frostbite: You could experience frostbite and the destruction of tissues, especially if you have diabetes or poor blood circulation.
- Influenza: Flu is more common during the winter, with those with weak immune systems more susceptible to it.
- Hypothermia: As you age, you experience slow metabolism rates and sarcopenia that cause you to lose body heat quicker. An inability to maintain optimal body temperatures while shovelling snow can cause hypothermia.
Opt for Snow Removal Services
Now that you know why you should not shovel snow, you have an easy choice. Thanks to snow removal services, you can still attend to the snow on your driveway while avoiding the many health hazards that come with shovelling snow.
Clear Cut Group has an experienced and well-trained team that will complete all the hard work while you stay safe and warm inside your cozy home. Reach out to Clear Cut Group at (905) 824-6597 for quality residential snow removal services.