Finns warned of 'too big' snow shovel risk

A family shovels snow Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Shovelling snow can be a dangerous business

Finns have been warned not to use "excessively large" shovels when clearing snow because they could be putting their health at risk.

A recent study found that the strain of pushing large shovels full of snow causes a spike in blood pressure which - combined with the cold air - can lead to cardiac arrest, the national broadcaster Yle reports. It cites cardiology professor Heikki Huikuri as saying exertion during snow clearing is the most common cause of heart attacks in Finland.

According to the product development director at tool manufacturer Fiskars, it's particularly an issue for Finnish men, who tend to favour plus-sized shovels. "Finnish men say that the snow shovel needs to be larger so they can get the snow work done faster, but bigger isn't better in this case," Petteri Masalin tells Yle.

The company has partnered with medical professionals to create instructional videos showing people how to use their snow-clearing implements safely, but it may not be easy to change habits. Yle describes the choice of oversized shovels as a "matter of honour" - and ego - for many middle-aged men. But Dr Huikuri suggests that male pride should be put to one side, saying: "I always say leave the snow work to the wife."

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