You move 3,000 pounds when you shovel your driveway - that can be hard on your heart

Trying to shovel your way out of this record-setting snow fall could wreak havoc on your heart. 

"It's one of the most strenuous exercises that someone can do. When you're lifting and shoveling snow, it's heavy and you're moving it from one part to the other. Tremendous strain on the heart," says Ascension Providence Hospital cardiologist Dr. Shukri David. 

In fact several studies link heart attacks to the day after a heavy snowfall. 

"You're moving literally 2-3,000 pounds of snow from one part of the driveway to the other. So your blood pressure goes up, your heart rate goes up. When it's cold your arteries constrict, a lack of blood flow to the heart. It's the perfect storm, if you will for having a heart attack."

So we need to take shoveling seriously. That means have a game plan before you step outside.  

"Hydrate really well. Cover up; you lose a lot of heat from your neck and head. So cover up and do it in 10-15 minute bursts, not more than that, and be careful. Use a small shovel rather than a big shovel."

And timing is important. 

"You should not do it very early in the morning, that's when your arteries constrict. You should take your time, warm up, drink something warm - avoid caffinated beverages because that can also cause constriction. 

So who should not be shoveling? 

If you're at risk for heart disease; if you smoke; you're sedentary; you have high blood pressure or other risk factors - be very careful. If you do go out and shovel, treat it like an intense exercise. That means take time to warm up, cool down and take breaks.