Shoveling snow is a tough job, and the increased workload and the risks associated with cold weather could be a dangerous combination.
The American Heart Association says that, for most people, shoveling snow may not lead to any problems.
However, it's important to know about the risk.
So, they put together a list of tips to help you stay safe as start to remove the snow:
Give yourself a break. Take frequent rest breaks during shoveling so you don't overstress your heart. Pay attention to how your body feels during those breaks.
Don't eat a heavy meal prior or soon after shoveling. Eating a large meal can put an extra load on your heart.
Use a small shovel or consider a snow blower. The act of lifting heavy snow can raise blood pressure acutely during the lift. It is safer to lift smaller amounts more times, than to lug a few huge shovelfuls of snow. When possible, simply push the snow.
Learn the heart attack warning signs and listen to your body, but remember this: Even if you're not sure it's a heart attack, have it checked out (tell a doctor about your symptoms). Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives - maybe your own. Don't wait more than five minutes to call 9-1-1
Don't drink alcoholic beverages before or immediately after shoveling. Alcohol may increase a person's sensation of warmth and may cause them to underestimate the extra strain their body is under in the cold.
Consult a doctor. If you have a medical condition, don't exercise on a regular basis or are middle aged or older, meet with your doctor prior to exercising in cold weather.
Be aware of the dangers of hypothermia. Heart failure causes most deaths in hypothermia. To prevent hypothermia, dress in layers of warm clothing, which traps air between layers forming a protective insulation. Wear a hat because much of your body's heat can be lost through your head.
Learn CPR. Effective bystander CPR, provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest, can double or triple a victim's chance of survival. Hands-only CPR makes it easier than ever to save a life. If an adult suddenly collapses, call 9-1-1 and begin pushing hard and fast in the middle of the victim's chest until help arrives.