You think butter kills? Try heart attack snow!

shovelattack.jpgAccording to National Weather Service forecaster Tony Zaleski, “heart attack snow” is headed for Minneapolis Saint Paul.

No man or woman is save from the “heavy, wet variety that will strain the bodies of shovelers tonight and Tuesday.”

From the Double-Tongued Dictionary:

With temperatures within striking distance of freezing during much of this precipitation event, the snow which falls is to be heavy and fairly wet—what’s often referred to as “good packing” or “heart attack” snow. The weight of such snow means it must be shoveled with extreme care to avoid a heart attack.

Here are some snow shoveling tips:

  • If you are inactive and have a history of heart trouble, talk to your doctor before you take on the task of shoveling snow.
  • Avoid caffeine or nicotine before beginning. These are stimulants, which may increase your heart rate and cause your blood vessels to constrict. This places extra stress on the heart.
  • Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is just as big an issue in cold winter months as it is in the summer.
  • Dress in several layers so you can remove a layer as needed.
  • Warm up your muscles before shoveling, by walking for a few minutes or marching in place. Stretch the muscles in your arms and legs, because warm muscles will work more efficiently and be less likely to be injured.
  • Pick the right shovel for you. A smaller blade will require you to lift less snow, putting less strain on your body.
  • Begin shoveling slowly to avoid placing a sudden demand on your heart. Pace yourself and take breaks as needed.
  • Protect your back from injury by lifting correctly.
  • Stand with your feet about hip width for balance and keep the shovel close to your body. Bend from the knees (not the back) and tighten your stomach muscles as you lift the snow. Avoid twisting movements. If you need to move the snow to one side reposition your feet to face the direction the snow will be going.
  • Most importantly — listen to your body. Stop if you feel pain!

4 Comments so far

  1. Erica M (ericam) on March 17th, 2008 @ 12:32 pm

    Every time I hear "heart attack" I think of the They Might Be Giants’ song "Fingertips." And I do mean every time.


  2. derushaj on March 18th, 2008 @ 8:31 am

    I just finished shoveling and I avoided the heart attack. Thank goodness. Just wanted to let everyone know: I’m ok.


  3. teebo on March 18th, 2008 @ 8:40 pm

    This was the quickest shoveling ever. If you die of a heart attack shoveling a bit of snow in Minnesota, consider it natural selection.


  4. Erica M (ericam) on March 19th, 2008 @ 1:34 pm

    Lately it seems like all you have to do is wait until the afternoon for that snow to melt. No shoveling needed!



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