The Big Job of Snow Clearing has Started – Remember Shoveling can increase heart attack risk


snow shovellingTHUNDER BAY – The job of cleaning up the snow, and snowdrifts across Thunder Bay has started. The City of Thunder Bay report that they are using all their resources to deal with the snowfall accumulation, and blowing snow as it clears arterial and collector streets. Crews have been out since 2AM Monday morning plowing mainlines and sidewalks, once these are completed they will then move into residential areas.

Snow removal crews will continue plowing throughout the day. Through Sunday afternoon, and evening, streets and sidewalks became increasingly difficult to navigate for both pedestrians and motorists.

The city advises, “Citizens are reminded that Calendar and Priority Winter Parking Regulations are in effect. Residents are asked to note the restrictions posted in their neighbourhoods. Residents can help by moving cars off roads to make it easier for plows to clear. No one should be parked on arterial and collector streets between 2AM and 7AM.

“When the temperature outside drops, our blood vessels narrow to prevent our bodies from losing heat. This is a natural response that can also put people with heart conditions and those involved in strenuous exercise at greater risk of having a heart attack,” says Dr. Holly Andersen, director of education and outreach at the Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Shoveling snow is one of the most strenuous and dangerous winter exercise activities. It can raise blood pressure, and coupled with the effects of colder temperatures, shoveling can increase heart attack risk drastically.

Dr. Andersen offers the following tips for safe shoveling and maintaining a healthy heart this winter:

  • Warm up. Warm up with stretching and light activity before shoveling, exercising, or beginning more strenuous physical activities;
  • Bundle up. When going out to shovel, always wear a scarf over your mouth and nose to warm the air before you breathe in, and dress in layers. Layering clothes underneath a windproof and waterproof outer shell helps maintain body heat;
  • Push the shovel. It is less strenuous to push the snow rather than lifting it, and this reduces the risk of overexerting yourself;
  • Take breaks. You should take frequent breaks while shoveling to give your muscles, especially your heart muscle, a chance to relax. You may also consider sharing the work with a friend to make the workload lighter and ensure that you are not alone in the event of an emergency;
  • Consult a doctor. If you are over the age of 50, overweight, out of shape or have suffered a heart attack, you should consult a doctor before shoveling snow or starting any exercise routine.
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