How Shoveling Strains the Heart
With a little more than a month of winter left in the Northern Hemisphere, spring can't come soon enough for many of those who live in snowy areas. Shoveling snow is strenuous activity, and our muscles, backs—and hearts—know it. New research sheds some light on how shoveling increases heart attack risk in men.
Shoveling puts more strain on the arms, as opposed to the legs, and increases heart rate, blood pressure, and the body's demand for oxygen. All of these effects, combined with the breathing in of cold air, can cause cardiovascular problems.
Results of a study performed in Canada show that heavy snow, as well as prolonged periods of snow, are associated with increased hospitalizations for heart attacks—myocardial infarctions. While this link is highly likely, the study did have limitations. For example, researchers did not gather information about specific snow-shoveling habits or other activities before, during, or after the snow fall.
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