Protect your heart during winter

Protect your heart during winter

December 2, 2019

Some people may be at increased risk of a heart attack during snow shoveling. The combination of colder temperatures and physical exertion increases the workload on the heart. That’s why people who are outdoors in cold weather should avoid sudden exertion, such as lifting a heavy shovel packed with snow. Even walking through heavy, wet snow or snow drifts can strain the heart.

“For people with existing heart conditions like heart failure, high blood pressure or cholesterol, the increased workload on the heart from activities such as shoveling heavy snow, can put them at higher risk for heart attack,” said Katie Harwick, Cardiac Rehabilitation RN.

Here are tips for heart-safe snow shoveling:

• Give yourself a break

• Don’t eat a big meal before or soon after shoveling

• Use a small shovel or a snow blower

• Learn the heart attack warnings, listen to your body

• Do not drink alcohol before or soon after shoveling

• Consult a doctor ahead of time. Before you start shoveling, talk with your doctor if you have a medical condition, do not exercise on a regular basis or are middle-aged or older.

Learn more about HHC’s Cardiac Rehabilitation department by calling (402) 723-4512.