Britain is bracing itself for travel disruption as snow hits the country and the Met Office issues three days of warnings.
Snow, while providing endless fun, can also be dangerous – from an increased risk of road accidents to people slipping on ice and hurting themselves.
What you must also be aware of, before you go outside and shovel snow off your driveway to stop you from falling over, is that this can be incredibly dangerous too.
Researchers in the US conducted a study into data from 1990 to 2006 and found 1,647 fatalities associated with shovelling snow.
These were cardiac-related injuries.
Why do so many people die while shovelling snow?
Cardiologist Barry Franklin, an expert in the hazardous effects of snow removal, told the BBC he believes hundreds of people die every year in the US from shovelling snow as they "don't have any idea how taxing it is on the heart."
Franklin's team found that even when healthy, young men shovelled snow their heart rate and blood pressure both increased more than when they exercised on a treadmill.
"Combine this with cold air, which causes arteries to constrict and decrease blood supply, you have a perfect storm for a heart attack," Franklin said.
He also told how shovelling snow is particularly strenuous because it requires arm work rather than leg work – which gets you out of breath more quickly.
It also usually takes place in the morning – when people are clearing snowfall on their driveways from overnight so they can get the car on to the road – and the hours of 6am to 10am are when fluctuations in our bodily rhythm make us more vulnerable to heart attacks.
The cardiologist advises anyone over the age of 55 not to shovel snow at all because he considers it so dangerous.
If you are overweight, a smoker or live a particularly sedentary lifestyle, you are also at increased risk.
If you really have to do it, push the snow to the side rather than lifting it up on the shovel, keep warm with layered clothing and take regular breaks to catch your breath.
The NHS has warned that people are more at risk of heart attacks in cold weather.
For every one degree that the temperature drops below 5C, there is a 10% increase in the number of older people who suffer breathing difficulties.
Source: Read Full Article