Canadian Study Says Shoveling Snow May Hurt Your Heart, And Frankly They Know Best

If you live in one of the lucky corners of the continent dumped with nigh-apocalyptic levels of snow this week, you may want to invest in a guy with a plow.

A new study has revealed that men who shovel after heavy snowfall have a higher risk of heart attack than those who don’t.

The study, which was recently published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, found that heavy snowfall is associated not only with an elevated risk of having a heart attack, but also being admitted to the hospital for a heart attack or myocardial infarction (MI).

"We suspect that shovelling was the main mechanism linking snowfall with MI," said co-author Dr. Nathalie Auger of the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre, Montréal, Quebec.

"Men are potentially more likely than women to shovel, particularly after heavy snowfalls. Snow shoveling is a demanding cardiovascular exercise requiring more than 75 percent of the maximum heart rate, particularly with heavy loads."

The research team analyzed data from more than 128,000 hospital admissions, along with more than 68,000 deaths from heart attack (MI) in Quebec from 1981 to 2014.

Researchers found that almost 60 percent of deaths and hospital admissions due to heart attacks were in men, and they were most common the day after a snowfall.

If you have to shovel your own snow, Dr. David Alter of the University of Toronto suggests bundling up and using a snow blower if possible or pushing snow aside with a shovel rather than lifting it and heaving it into a pile.

“Don’t lift the snow,” Alter added. “If you want to reduce your risk with snow shovelling, exercise regularly for 30 to 45 minutes five days per week to make certain you are appropriately physically conditioned to do so.”

h/t The Globe and Mail, Forbes


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