ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Top 5 Reasons Not To Shovel Snow This Winter - It Could Be Bad For Your Health

Updated on June 29, 2014
These Sailors Are In Peak Condition And Dressed For The Weather- Are you ? http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flickr_-_DVIDSHUB_-_Blizzard_2010_Cleanup.jpg
These Sailors Are In Peak Condition And Dressed For The Weather- Are you ? http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flickr_-_DVIDSHUB_-_Blizzard_2010_Cleanup.jpg | Source

Brrrrr It´s Brass Monkeys Out There !

Now that winter has well and truly arrived in many places around the world, some of us will be facing the yearly challenge of battling freezing temperatures, ice and snow.

With Snow piled up against our front doors and covering our paths and pavements it´s normal for some people to be itching to get out there and start shovelling, whilst others will be doing all they can to avoid stepping out into the cold.

Health wise, for those of us not used to hard manual work in freezing conditions and with certain health related conditions such as circulation issues, heart problems , or high blood pressure are at risk if the urge to go out shovelling snow gets the better of us and would be well advised to stay in the cosy comfort of our homes. On the other hand if you are physically fit and dressed appropriately you can have a really good workout without going down to the gym, just make sure you warm up well before hand and warm down when you finish.


For anyone in two minds or being nagged to get out there and get shovelling and need an excuse to stay in the warm, here are 5 really good health reasons to back up your argument.

Top 5 Reasons Not To Shovel Snow

1. Increased Risk Of Heart Attack Or Stroke

During very cold weather our blood thickens and our arteries narrow which causes the heart to work harder in order to keep blood flowing through our body. Your BP will probably rise and this along with the possibility of splits occurring in the plaque that many people have lining their arteries may allow blood clots to form, and this can all contribute to a heart attack or stroke.

Physical exercise or hard manual work in very cold conditions, such as shovelling snow, forces the already hard working heart to pump even faster adding more strain.

If you are in good physical condition, properly dressed for the climate and are used to strenuous exercise or hard manual work you will probably suffer no harm what so ever, in fact you will give yourself a good cardio workout, but if you suffer from heart or circulation problems, have high blood pressure or are not used to physical exertion then think twice before getting that shovel out, you really could be putting yourself at great risk.

2. Increased Risk Of Muscular Injurys

Cold muscles and connective tissue are more prone to painful sprains and strains because cold weather decreases elasticity. Before embarking on any physical exercise including shovelling snow it´s important to practise a thorough warm up first, drink plenty of water whilst working and have a good cool down period incorporating lots of stretching exercises afterwards to help reduce muscle soreness later.

3. Increased risk of Frostbite

Frostbite is caused by reduced blood flow and decreased oxygen because of contracted arteries during prolonged exposure to cold. Ice crystals can also form in skin tissue and effectively block off the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the affected area and kill the skin

Extremities are most commonly affected, fingers, toes, nose,and ears. Prolonged exposure to cold which would lead to stage 3 or advanced frostbite can also damage tendons, muscles, nerves and even bone.

4. Increased risk of Hypothermia

Although it´s quite possible that you will work up a sweat shovelling all that snow, this is not a good thing in very cold weather as sweating will lower your core body temperature allowing hypothermia to take a hold.

The average core body temperature of most people is around 37C, you only need to cool down a couple of degrees to below 35C in order to experience the onset of hypothermia.

Left untreated, victims will fall into a coma and may die if medical attention is not given immediately.

For those convinced that a regular nip of Brandy or Whisky will not only make the chore of snow shovelling more enjoyable and help to keep out the cold, sorry to disillusion you and spoil the fun, but it could actually make you more susceptible to hypothermia as alcohol diverts blood away from the major organs and sends it to the surface of the skin instead,tricking you into feeling warm and inducing a rosy glow, whilst all the time stealing heat from inside your body and putting you at a much higher risk.

5. Increased risk of Broken Bones

This is a no brainer really, we all know how treacherous conditions under foot become when snow and ice are covering every surface outside, but if you are scraping the barrel in order not to be forced into snow clearing, it has to be worth a shot to use this one as an excuse for staying in the cosy warmth of your house until a thaw sets in and the snow disappears for good or some good Samaritan comes and clears your path for you.


Last Word

If you suffer from Asthma , high blood pressure , heart or circulation problems , ask yourself " is clearing your path really worth risking your health ?"

If all fails and you really do have to go out and shovel snow at least follow these guidelines to keep you safe and well.

Dress in lots of light insulating layers that will trap your body heat and help to keep it where it´s needed.

Wear a windproof jacket or coat, waterproof boots with good grip , gloves or mittens and a hat.

Have a good warm up session before putting those muscles to work and a good cool down session with lots of sustained stretching exercise afterwards.

Keep hydrated and take regular breaks, and if you feel tired or unwell stop what you are doing and go straight back into the warmth. Contact a medical proffesional if symptoms persist.

Happy shovelling to one and all :)



http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Love_g303-I_Love_Snow_Heart_p23368.html "I Love Snow Heart" by Tina Phillips
http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Love_g303-I_Love_Snow_Heart_p23368.html "I Love Snow Heart" by Tina Phillips

Your votes and comments are always appreciated so please do feel free to leave some. Thank you.

Disclaimer

The author is not a doctor or medic or anyway involved with these proffesions. The information given in this hub had been well reserched but medical help and advice should be sought if you are at all worried or concerned by any symptoms you experience during cold weather or at any time.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • PaoloJpm profile image

      John Paolo B.Magdaluyo 4 years ago from Philippine

      I love morning sunshine, since you mentioned global warming. The sun really gives it shine as hot as flame so, how I wish we have snow. By the way one of our province features a unquie kind of rain which is raining of stoned ice. Anyway, my pleasure to comment on your wonderful hub

    • bac2basics profile image
      Author

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Hi Paolo.

      With global warming who´s to say what will happen in the future, but it seems unlikely you will ever see snow in the Philippians. Many thanks for reading and your kind comment. Have a great day in the sunshine :)

    • PaoloJpm profile image

      John Paolo B.Magdaluyo 4 years ago from Philippine

      this very useful! though, I am living in a tropical Country still, this is so informative for everybody.

    • bac2basics profile image
      Author

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Hello srsddn. Thank you so very much for the thumbs up and sharing, I really appreciate that, hopefully it will put this hub up in the ratings. Keep well through the winter and wrapped up nice and warm too. Take good care of yourself my dear and thanks for dropping by :)

    • srsddn profile image

      srsddn 4 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

      bac2basics, winter is already over here but enjoyed the warmth of your tips. Really very useul information and full of precaution which many people omit at times. Inceased risk of hypothermia even after consuming Whiskey or Brandy is a great piece of information. Thanks for presenting all this in your Hub. Thumbed up and shared.

    • bac2basics profile image
      Author

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Hi Glimmer. Make sure to wrap up well and follow all the precautions. Hope the snow blower saves you an aching back. Many thanks for reading and your comment, much appreciated :)

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Unfortunately we still have to go out and shovel. Luckily we bought a snow blower last year which has saved us. It's still super cold though! Useful reminder hub.

    • bac2basics profile image
      Author

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Hi Effer. Yes it does snow in Spain, I may see some this week, remember also I am from Yorkshire in the north of England and snow is the norm there every winter, knee deep in fact. Don´t blame you one bit avoiding the temptation to get out there with a shovel, it´s hard work LOL :)

    • bac2basics profile image
      Author

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Hi Fitness I can see from your photo and pseudonym that you enjoy a good work out, shovelling snow will certainly provide this but remember to warm up and down properly just as you would do in the gym, it´s even more important when facing bitterly cold temps. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment :)

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Hi bac2!!! There's snow in Spain? lol......I promise you, on my word of honor: I do not shovel, I will not shovel and I'll stay warm and cozy until the SUN clears up the snow......Thanks....UP+++

    • fitnesscentral profile image

      Andy 4 years ago from London

      I had never thought of things like this..! Thanks for the tips, I'm going to be careful shoveling snow - when we get some, which is forecast soon!

    • bac2basics profile image
      Author

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Hi Raindefence. You are absolutely right, thank you for pointing this out, I have done an amendment accordingly. Instances of heart attack and stroke along with all the other things I have mentioned in this hub do increase in cold/ snowy weather, and the message is to be aware of the risks especially if you have health issues, and dress accordingly. I see there has been some snowfall in parts of the UK already and sever warnings are in place for most areas later this week so will be thinking of you doing your 20 minutes cardio workout then. ;)

    • Rain Defence profile image

      Rain Defence 4 years ago from UK

      Shovelling snow is a great workout! Shovelling for 20 minutes is great cardio and far more rewarding than 20 minutes on a rowing machine as you have something to show for your efforts afterwards.

    • bac2basics profile image
      Author

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Hi Maj and Tilly. Great to hear from you both.

      Maj I really hope things in your part of Aus are OK and the fires miss you. I have relatives in NSW too and got very panicked for them when I saw the news, luckily they were away from the fires. Fingers crossed for all of you out there.

      Tilly, you are so right , age does put you more at risk. Just last week I borrowed my neighbours big saw to cut down some trees that were burned during the fire, they were only young trees so not too broad in the beam, but it was a cold windy day and my heart was racing like the clappers, I realised when I researched this hub that my BP must have been sky high with the cold and exertion and I was putting myself at risk. So no more tree felling for me. Hope you are well too Tilly and thank you both for reading and your caring comments :)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Thanks B2B, I knew there were good reasons why I don't shovel ;) Seriously, I know the risks. Age adds to those risks as well. You've done a great job of outlining WHY shoveling is so dangerous to so many and provided good suggestions for facing the shoveling!

      Best to you. Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Very good points and so true - I remember well from my Uk childhood. However, right now I'm packing some memorabilia away - photo's etc as the temp climbs and the bush fire risk grows. Hope you are well anne and warm - cheers

    • bac2basics profile image
      Author

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Hi KJ good to hear from you. Poolside and 82 degrees sounds fantastic. This winter has been pretty good in my neck of the woods so far too, except for howling winds that don´t seem to want to leave. I am dreading going back to the UK when the time comes, winters there are pretty dire to say the least.Pleased you approve the hub KJ, now slap on some sunscreen :)

    • kj force profile image

      kjforce 4 years ago from Florida

      bac2basics...Happy New Year to you...Great suggestions ..also many people don't realize if you have any breathing issues/allergies..shortness of breathe as a lack of oxygen can cause many problems, especially in the cold..coming originally from snowbelt areas..I have seen the hazards that accompany the freezing cold..Thank you for bringing this to attention ..found very helpful..of course I am presently sitting poolside 82 degrees..keep warm and safe...

    • bac2basics profile image
      Author

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Hi PS, good to hear from you and thanks for the vote on this hub. How does it feel being in the Florida sunshine , must be doing you a power of good. :)

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Very good points. Although I live in Florida now I have lived in lots of snow and been faced with removing it. It is very taxing and can cause all of the things you have mentioned. thanks for the heads up to those who may not know or who may have forgotten.

      Sending Angels to you :) ps