While the winter started off easy, there may be months of heavy lifting ahead. And with several new studies reinforcing older research that links shoveling snow to heart attacks in some at-risk people, the American Heart Association passes along these tips if the blizzard of 2012 materializes:
Because lifting heavy snow stresses the heart, use a small shovel. If possible, push the snow instead of lifting.
Take frequent breaks.
Don't eat a heavy meal right before or right after shoveling.
If you have chest pains or shortness of breath, seek immediate help.
And while you're taking care of your heart, don't forget the rest of your body. The American Chiropractic Association suggests:
Keep your muscles warm by wearing several layers of clothes.
Limber up with stretching exercises.
Move slowly and avoid twisting motions with a shovelful of snow.