Shoveling Snow Can Be Deadly

Just another reason to dread going out into the icy tundra “kindly” left by Winter Storm Jonas.

If you have diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure or just simply not in good shape, you’re going to want to avoid shoveling this winter. Experts say that you can hurt yourself or cause a heart attack or stroke. Each year, snow shoveling alone results in more than 11,000 emergency room visits and nearly 100 deaths.

Lawrence Phillips, a cardiologist at NYU Langone Medical Center, explained in an interview with The Washington Post that blood vessels constrict when you’re really cold. This leads to a decrease in the blood supply to your vital organs. Additionally, Phillips said that people who haven’t exercised in months or even years underestimate the amount of work that comes with shoveling snow. As a result, when they head out into the winter wonderland, they tend to overexert themselves. He continued, explaining that snow-shoveling is seen more as a “goal-oriented” activity, meaning that people ignore their body’s warning signs while they’re shoveling because they want to get the job done.

According to William Suddath, an interventional cardiologist at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, clearing away piles and piles of snow is similar to “beginning a weightlifting program in freezing temperatures without any preparation.” He noted that during 2010’s “Snowmaggedon,” his hospital experienced a “wave” of heart attack emergencies due to snow shoveling.

The Washington Post reported that people over the age of 55 are four times more likely to experience heart health issues than younger people while shoveling snow. In short? Get out there and help your parents and grandparents with their driveways and sidewalks after the storm stops.

You’ve now got the perfect excuse to hold off the shoveling until Sunday. Grab some hot chocolate, throw a log in the fireplace and curl up with a warm blanket and watch the snow fall. You’re just looking out for your health, after all.

I’m sure all of the people in warmer climates are cackling maniacally at the East Coast as they dig their toes deeper into whatever beach they’re on.

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