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Shoveling Snow Increases Risk of Heart Attack

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Once upon a lifetime ago, my father took a job in upper New York state and moved all us lock, stock and barrel, from the wonderfully warm and sunny state of Texas to a little spot 10 miles from Lake Ontario.

The first snow of the season was a delight. Overnight the world was transformed into a beautiful, pristine wonderland that looked just like Christmas cards. Of course, the car had to be shoveled out so our father to get to work, but even when the snowplow came by and filled in the driveway about 5 ½ seconds after we finished the job, we didn’t mind. It was, after all -- SNOW!

Unfortunately, no one told us that the cold, the snow, and the driveway, and the shoveling, and the snowplow, and more shoveling, would be there the next day, and the next, and the next. In fact, that winter turned out to be the worst one on record in 50 years.

Needless to say, our love affair with the snow soon ended leaving not-so-fond memories of cold, snow, shoveling -- and more wet cold, and snow, and shoveling!

For anyone who’s ever experienced shoveling snow first-hand, then you know that it absolutely counts as "exercise." It can be hard on the back, arms, as well as various other body parts and your morning attitude!

Let’s face it -- working up a sweat despite the cold isn’t hard when shoveling snow is involved. As it turns out, shoveling snow may not only be bad for your back ... it may be bad for your heart as well.

The myth that shoveling snow can lead to a heart attack appears to be much more than just an old wives' tale. According to researchers at Kingston General Hospital in Kingston, Ontario, shoveling snow is bad for your heart and may lead to heart attack and even death for certain individuals.

The study is the brainchild of Dr. Adrian Baranchuk, a cardiologist and professor at the Queen’s School of Medicine. Baranchuk became interested in the effect of shoveling snow on the heart after seeing 14 heart attack patients in the emergency room in a single morning, eight of whom had been shoveling snow at the time of the heart attack.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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