Health Advice



Shoveling safety

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

The record for the biggest single day of snowfall in the U.S. goes to Silver Lake, Colorado, elevation 10,220 feet. In 1921, the area saw 75.8 inches of the white stuff in 24 hours! Down here at sea level, Oklahoma set a new 24-hour snowfall record in 2011 when 27 inches piled up in Spavinaw -- Mickey Mantle's hometown. That's a lot to shovel out of the driveway, especially since it weighs in at around 20 pounds per cubic foot.

If you're headed into or are already in shovel season, take note: Shoveling is a cardio-stimulating and weight-resistance exercise. When combined with chilly, blood-vessel-constricting temperatures, it can be quite a shock to your system.

One study out of snowy Canada found that heavy snowfall correlated with a 16% relative increased risk for hospital admission for heart attack. For men, a snowfall was associated with a 34% increase in the odds of dying from a cardiac event.

This is why it's important to take it slow, and treat shoveling as serious exercise. Some tips:

-- Stretch before you start.

-- Push the snow rather than lifting it. If you need to lift snow, use a smaller shovel. Lift with your legs, not your back.

-- If possible, shovel while snow is still fresh and powdery. It's lighter. You can actually check how much your snow weighs at by specifying whether it's fresh, wet, windblown, dry or icy, plus its depth, length and width.


-- Dress warmly. Heart attack and strokes are by-and-large more common during cold snaps.


Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

(c) 2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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