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Snow Shoveling When You’re Over 45


A leading cardiologist said 45 is too old to be shoveling snow if you have any type of heart disease, according to a recent report in USAToday. Think you’re OK because you don’t have a diagnosis of heart disease? Well, are you sure? The American Heart Association says 50% of us have heart disease. Some experts estimate 85% of adults have cardiac problems and don’t know it, which is even more worrisome.

Dr. Barry Franklin is the cardiologist quoted in that story, and he is also the lead author on a 2020 study for the American Heart Association published in Circulation on exercise-related acute cardiac events, commonly called “heart attacks.” In that study, the researchers state, “Snow shoveling has repeatedly been associated with increased cardiovascular events soon after major snowstorms, probably because it can elicit higher rate-pressure products than maximal treadmill testing and is often performed by unfit individuals with known or occult CAD (coronary artery disease).”

OK, sure, you’re thinking that snow shoveling doesn’t seem all that bad if we take our time and lift small loads, right? We avoid it when the temperatures are frigid, since our heart has to work even harder just to breathe in those climates. And we’re wondering if the age recommendation is more of a fitness thing or a health thing?

With that in mind, we dug deeper. Dr. Luke Laffin, of the Cleveland Clinic (you know, that heart surgery center in Ohio that is ranked No. 1 or 2 in like every hospital poll there is), says people underestimate how stressful shoveling is. Dr. Laffin said on the Cleveland Clinic website that if you’re over 55 and have one or more medical conditions, you should get someone else to shovel for you. He didn’t say “heart.” He said medical. I guess many of us will be looking at the options for professional snow removers.

If you’re thinking you’ll just let it melt, you may want to think again. An internet frenzy occurred in January 2022 when a woman in the Midwest posted a comment that four kids voluntarily shoveled her driveway (the area had received 14 inches of snow) and then demanded she pay them $15 each. Since they didn’t ask her if they could shovel the driveway, they just shoveled it, according to a follow-up story on Newsweek, she said she didn’t owe them any money. At one point, one of the kids’ parents came to her door and demanded the money (but didn’t get any). The internet consensus was behind the woman who never hired the kids.


Posted on February 17, 2022

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