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Can I Shovel Snow with a Heart Condition?

can I shovel snow with a heart condition?

Winters in the Denver area are typically very snowy, and shoveling snow off sidewalks and driveways is a regular part of life throughout the cold months and if you want to have a really nice driveway you should try the driveway gates services which are perfect for this. However, it’s important to understand the ways shoveling snow can impact your health, especially if you have a heart condition. There is considerable research indicating that shoveling heavy snow may increase your risk of a heart attack.

Shoveling snow may not seem like hard work, but it can put significant strain on your heart. This is especially true when the snow is wet and heavy, or when you are shoveling large quantities of snow after a major storm. Research has found that shoveling snow for just two minutes can elevate your heart rate to over 85% of your maximal heart rate. This level is commensurate with heart rates associated with intense aerobic exercise. Individuals who aren’t physically fit experience this increase in heart rate more intensely than people who are in good shape.

Another study found that the chance of a heart attack increases when shoveling after a heavy snowfall exceeding 7-8 inches. In this situation, men were 16% more likely of being admitted to the hospital with a heart attack and 34% more likely to die. This increase in risk wasn’t found in women.

How Does Shoveling Snow Impact Your Heart?

Intense physical activity places increased demands on your heart. Your heart rate increases in order to provide sufficient blood flow and deliver essential nutrients to the muscles undergoing exertion. In addition, the force of your heartbeat may increase to address the increased physical demands associated with your actions.

Depending on your age, overall health and level of physical fitness, intense strenuous exercise can push your heart to its maximum heart rate. When your heart rate remains at this level for extended periods of time, it can place significant stress on your heart. In addition, rigorous physical activity can cause a temporary spike in your blood pressure.

While intense exercise by healthy individuals can provide positive long-term benefits to your heart, the same level of exercise can present risks for people with heart conditions. For this reason, it’s critical to speak with your cardiologist to find out whether it’s safe to shovel snow with your heart condition.

Tips for Shoveling Snow with a Heart Condition

tips for shoveling snow with a heart conditionDue to the risks associated with shoveling snow with a heart condition, even healthy individuals should exercise caution. However, the need to take precautions is particularly critical if you have a pre-existing heart condition. The following tips will help you minimize the risk of triggering a cardiac event while shoveling:

South Denver Cardiology Can Help

At South Denver Cardiology Associates, we provide comprehensive clinical cardiology services to help you manage a wide range of heart conditions and maintain optimal heart health. We offer diagnostic testing to determine the specific heart condition you’re experiencing. This helps us recommend the right treatments and lifestyle adjustments to properly manage your condition. This may include recommending that someone else shovel snow for you to limit unnecessary stress on your heart.

In addition, our medical fitness gym is a great way to develop a customized fitness program that will help improve your heart health. You’ll work one-on-one with one of our certified exercise specialists who can help you understand the types of exercise that are safe for your heart condition, and which activities may not be advisable based on your current level of fitness and heart health. Over time, we’ll work with you to improve your fitness so that you can reduce the risk of triggering a cardiac event when engaging in strenuous activities.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment. South Denver Cardiology Associates serves patients in Denver, Littleton and the surrounding areas of Colorado.

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As with any health concerns, your specific treatment program should be discussed thoroughly with your primary care physician as well as any specialists who may need to be consulted – like a cardiologist.

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