Shoveling snow can cause heart issues

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Not only do you want to have items ready for the snow storm, but you also want to prepare your body.

Doctors at Regional Health tell us they see a lot of people for chest pains and even heart attacks during heavy snow storms because they overexert themselves shoveling.

Dr. Brook Edie says your blood vessels constrict in the cold and that can put extra stress on your heart if you are being active outside. He also says since shoveling is mostly an upper body workout, that puts stress on your heart too.

Dr. Edie says prepare for shoveling like you would any sport.

"Do things like warming up your body, maybe a little extra movement," says Dr. Edie. "And then start with small shovels. People shouldn't buy too large of shovels, throw too heavy a load of snow. So buy smaller shovels, warm up slowly, don't go right into throwing a whole bunch; and take breaks often."

He also says anyone can experience problems, but especially those with pre-existing heart conditions.