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Drinking caffeine before shoveling can harm your heart

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Shoveling and Your Health

Eau Claire (WQOW) - Did you know skipping your morning coffee before shoveling could prevent a trip to the hospital?

The National Safety Council reports nationwide, snow shoveling is responsible for thousands of injuries and as many as 100 deaths each year.

Part of the reason: heart attacks.

Regi Geissler, a trauma coordinator from HSHS Saint Joseph's Hospital, says the average shovel load is 10 to 11 pounds, and if you shovel for 15 minutes, you might've already lifted around 2,000 lbs. of snow.

Shoveling is a strenuous activity, and drinking coffee, or any drink with caffeine, can exacerbate the situation.

"Caffeine is a stimulant and stimulants raise your blood pressure and can raise your heart rate," said Geissler. "So as you're out there shoveling, it increases your heart rate and it increases your blood pressure and can put more stress on your heart so it's best not to drink caffeine before you go out and shovel."

If you need your morning caffeine boost, health experts suggest waiting at least an hour before or after shoveling.

Smoking is also a stimulant so the same rule applies.

When scooping snow, Geissler says pick a shovel that's as tall as your elbows, bend at your knees, and twist your entire body, not just your upper torso.

Katrina Lim

Katrina Lim joined the News 18 team in August 2019 as a multimedia journalist. She was born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey but has lived in all time zones of the contiguous U.S.A.

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