According to the Harvard Health Blog, estimates say around 100 people – mostly men – because they do most of the snow removal, die during or just after shoveling snow each year in the US.  Between 1981 and 2014, researchers studied a significant number of hospital admissions and deaths due to heart attack.

The Deeper the Snow, the More Deaths

They found that the deeper the snow, the more men were admitted to hospitals for heart attacks and the more died.  Similarly, the longer it snowed, the higher the rates of heart attacks and related deaths among men.  And shoveling isn’t the only culprit.  Pushing a heavy snow blower can also cause attacks.

Heart Disease is a High Risk

If you already have heart disease or are at risk for it, you should be wary of shoveling your own snow.  But this phenomenon also happens to men who have no known heart issues and, to a lesser degree, women who remove the snow from their drives and sidewalks.

Removing Snow Causes Increased Heart Rate

When you’re shoveling snow or pushing a snow blower, you are exerting a log of energy and this can raise your heart rate and blood pressure more quickly than other types of exercise.  You are out in the cold which can constrict blood vessels.  If you don’t regularly exercise, or are a couch potato, the sudden expenditure of energy will tax your system as it isn’t used to it.

Protect Yourself, Hire a Professional

So, what can you do to protect yourself? The snow has to be moved.  Consider hiring a professional to clear your driveway and sidewalks.  There are other advantages to hiring someone to remove the snow rather than doing it yourself.  The professionals are on the job as soon as the snow starts falling and will clear your property without you having to call them each time it snows.  In areas where heavy snowfall is a constant, like Montana, it can take you hours to just clear enough to get out of your garage or house.  So be smart, and hire a professional for snow removal.