It’s that time of year again, the first snowfall. Welcome to Alberta! I’m that person who does not really enjoy winter because of the cold and snow BUT I try to look at the positive in any situation. The only positive that goes along with a lot of snow is the exercise involved in shoveling it!
Grab the shovel and get outside! Warm up first and then begin the dreaded workout.
There are many benefits to snow shoveling. It is considered a high intense activity which means it will raise your heart rate, can burn anywhere between 300-500 cals per hour (depending on the individual, time and amount of snow) and its an activity that can be enjoyed by the whole family!
There are a few things to consider before grabbing the shovel. If you are a non exerciser or someone who has cardiovascular risk factors, caution should be considered. It is an activity that requires a warm up just like any other exercise. The warm up is designed to increase blood flow to the working muscles so a jog on the spot is good, shoulder rotations, squat on the spot or even just a small walk around the perimeter is good. Proper lifting techniques are a must. Lower back pain or tightness during and after shoveling is quite normal but if you lift improperly you put yourself at risk for back injury. Always lift with your legs and try to keep the shovel closer to your body. Extending the lever (shovel) out too far can put strain on your back. Don’t load too much on the shovel especially if the snow is wet and heavy. Like every exercise, technique is a must to ensure proper form and to avoid injury. Shoveling the snow should not be a race!
As much as I dislike the cold and snow, shoveling snow is beneficial to our bodies. Getting outside and enjoying the fresh air is good for our mind, body and spirit. Shoveling is an excellent cardio workout along with a great upper / lower body workout. Don’t make the excuse that you can not exercise today because you are snowed in or because the roads are bad. Get up, get the shovel out and enjoy the outdoors 😉