Central New York winters and snow go together like s'mores and campfires: You can't have one without the other. While Central New Yorkers are tough and fully equipped to deal with mass amounts of snowfall each year, it's easy to forget these simple tips to keep your own health in check at the same time.

Studies show that shoveling show increases the risk of heart attack. According to Harvard Health, many people who shovel snow don't necessarily exercise regularly, so suddenly moving pounds upon pounds of snow (and exerting a lot of energy while doing it) can put a strain on the heart.

Especially when you live in a place like Central New York, sometimes there's no way around it: shoveling show is a necessary evil to get out and about and go about your day. If you have to go shovel, here are some tips from Harvard Health that will keep your heart in mind and help prevent major health risks.

Warm up your muscles before getting started. Get your blood pumping so it's not a complete shock to your system when you start shoveling.

Keep your loads light. While it may be tempting to get the job done quicker by taking fewer, yet heavier, loads of snow, keeping your loads lighter will cause less strain on the heart and ease your risk for any serious issues.

Take a break! Give yourself enough time to go inside, warm up, and let your body rest between loads you're not over-exerting your vital organs.

Stay hydrated. Use your frequent breaks to grab a glass of water. While you should always be drinking fluids and staying hydrated throughout the day, it's especially important while you're shoveling snow.

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Don't be a perfectionist. You don't need to clear every little bit of snow from your driveway or sidewalk. Only do what's necessary.

Watch for and listen to warning signs. If your chest starts hurting, you feel lightheaded or short of breath, your heart starts racing, or you sense a physical change that makes you nervous, head inside immediately and call 911 if you think you're having a heart attack.

Hire some help. There's never shame in asking for help, especially when it comes to winters in Central New York. Hiring a teen neighbor will not only keep you safer and warm inside, it'll also give them the chance to get some exercise and earn some extra cash while they're at it.

KEEP READING: Get answers to 51 of the most frequently asked weather questions...


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