Mowing manually could be hazardous to hearts
August 3, 1997
Web posted at: 9:56 p.m. EDT (0156 GMT)
From Detroit Bureau Chief Ed Garsten
ROYAL OAK, Michigan (CNN) -- For 68-year-old Frank Macielak, who had triple bypass surgery eight months ago, getting better means getting back two things he loves -- his golf and his lawn mover.
Macielak's mower is self-propelled. According a study by William Beaumont Hospital, using a self-propelled mower, rather than a manual mower, could be a life saving strategy for Macielak and other cardiac patients.
"We found that, using the manual method of grass cutting, they exceeded the recommended range that we give for exercise," said William Beaumont's Cindy Haskin-Popp. "They exceeded their heart rate range by as much as 20 percent."
And that is considered dangerous for patients with certain heart problems.
Ten men participated in the study. Their average age was 60, and all were considered to be low-risk cardiac patients. They were hooked up to equipment to see how their hearts performed while mowing with a manual mower and then a self-propelled mower for 10 minutes each.
Said Riggs Miller, one of the 10 men: "I was fatigued, particularly when I was doing the manual portion of the test. After that, when we went to the self-propelled portion, it was a lot easier."
The researchers say people with low-risk heart problems should not only use a self-propelled mower but also take these other precautions:
- Drink plenty of liquids
- Wear a hat
- Don't mow when the temperature is more than 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius)
- Stop mowing immediately if you feel lightheaded or dizzy
- Call your doctor before mowing if you've had recent heart surgery or heart disease.
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