Many people are unaware of the risks that low temperatures and winter storms can cause to their minds and hearts, who is director of education and outreach at the hospital. Shoveling snow, for example, is one of the most stressful and risky activities people do in the winter since it can raise blood pressure and dramatically increase people's risk for a heart attack.
To protect your heart health this winter, follow these safety tips:
- Stretch and warm up your muscles with light activity before engaging in rigorous physical activity, such as shoveling.
- Stay warm. Wear a scarf over your mouth and nose to warm the air you breathe. Dress in layers and cover up with a windproof and waterproof outer shell.
- Instead of lifting a shovel, push it to remove snow.
- Pace yourself and take breaks while you are shoveling snow.
- Enlist a friend to help you shovel. This way you will have less work to do and will not be alone in case of an emergency.
Anyone who is obese, older than 50 or has suffered a heart attack should talk to their doctor before shoveling snow or starting a new exercise program.