There's a blizzard here in D. C. right now. I just moved here for this (hah!) and every time we head out to shovel, I think of all the times I've read in the paper, or seen news stories, about people having heart attacks while shoveling snow.
The worry is enough to give you a heart attack.
Here are some excerpts from an interesting article called DEATH BY DRIVEWAY? To read the full article, go here: http://www.slate.com/id/2244173?nav=wp .
Journalists are writing stories about shoveling-induced heart attacks.
"Shoveling Snow Can Cause Heart Problems" (WHIZ News);
"shoveling snow can be incredibly dangerous for someone with a cardiac condition" (Staunton News Leader);
"heart attacks among shovelers are a major concern" (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).
Is there a real connection between shoveling and cardiac trouble? they ask. And the answer is:
Studies published in the Lancet and the American Journal of Cardiology, among other outlets, show that the incidence of heart failure goes up in the week after a blizzard.
But ... and there's always a but, they add:
It's possible that snow-shoveling is no more dangerous than any other physically draining activity—that the same individuals who die while clearing their driveways could just as well succumb to a vigorous jog. The post-blizzard spike could be attributed to the fact that sedentary people with potential heart problems have no choice but to engage in heart-pounding work with a shovel, whereas other aerobic activities (at other times of year) can be put off or skipped altogether.