As I look out the window of my Richmond office, I still see piles of snow all around the parking lot and grass. I think our other three offices had a bit of snow-envy during the snow days . Now, they no longer have that kind of envy.
So, since I still can see the snow, I thought that a snow shoveling warning article might be helpful for the next time. It also tells us the size of shovel that should be used.
The headline from Atlasobscura.com tells it all, Why Snow Shoveling is an Unusually Deadly Type of Exercise. Of course, that website also sounds a bit obscure but let’s go with their ideas:
First, the article reminds us, Snow shoveling is a unique form of exertion. It can be vigorous and challenging to the cardiovascular system in general, and the heart in particular. When combined with the inherent environmental conditions of winter, snow shoveling during or after a blizzard may be the “perfect storm” for a cardiac event in those with known or “occult” (hidden) coronary disease.
Second, the nature of the exercise—and snow shoveling is unique. It is typically done without a warm up, and includes considerable arm work that increases blood pressure drastically. As blood pressure rises, so too does the work of the heart. Meanwhile, your leg muscles are typically performing isometric work (where you produce a lot of tension but your muscles don’t move your joint – like an even tie during an arm-wrestle). This type of muscle activity, especially in the upper body (as you tightly grip the shovel), raises blood pressure more than walking or jogging.
Add these two dangers with the issue of not breathing correctly in the cold; And then, as one doctor acknowledged, it doesn’t help that circadian rhythms make people more susceptible to heart attacks from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.—prime shoveling time.
The article concludes with the thought that if snow must be cleared, use a small shovel for less exertion. It’s better to have a safe sidewalk in a slower time, than have a heart attack!
(One final note: my Dad pointed out that Robert E. Lee did own slaves technically for a period of time, from the wrap-up of his father-in-law’s estate)(blog yesterday)
And for pic o’ day, more on the “staying safe genre”: