I hate the cold (and I live in the arctic)!
I didn’t mind it at all when I was a kid because I loved playing in the snow, having snowball fights, building forts and giant snowmen, and of course the cold meant HOCKEY!!! Now that I’m over 30, I think I hate winter.
With the snow falling, it means LOTS of shoveling needs to be done. The problem with shoveling is that it can lead to many injuries, especially soft tissue injuries in the back, knees and hip and for some older folks, it can also mean strain on your heart.
People over 55 years of age are 4 times more likely than those younger to have a heart problem when shoveling snow. Studies found only 7% of the injuries seen shoveling were heart related, but for those with a heart condition, all deaths associated with shoveling were due to heart attacks.
I don’t think many people like shoveling snow, but there are ways to deal with the hassle and pain of doing it. Personally, my hours in a day are limited as it is, so taking an hour to shovel can eat up my gym time and if I don’t get my workout in, I’m not a happy camper. Because of this, what I’ve started to do is make my shoveling part of my workout. I throw on my iPod, crank the tunes, and get ‘er done.
Here are a few tips to make shoveling snow a good and SAFE workout.
- Make shoveling a PUSH workout.
If you’re prone to injury, especially back, shoulder or knee injury, pushing the snow around instead of lifting and twisting and throwing it will help prevent injuring yourself.
- Lift with your knees, not your back.
This is something you’ve heard your entire life and it’s true. When lifting and throwing snow (if you have to) bend at the knees, keep your back straight, engage your core and use your full body in one movement to move the snow. Using momentum from your legs in to your arms and shoulders will help you move the snow easier, and takes the strain off of your back.
- Work out your arms, shoulders, legs and core.
If you’re confident in your body, and are pretty sure you aren’t going to injure yourself, you can try this one. I know I just said push the snow if you can and don’t lift and twist, but personally the lifting and twisting is how I get my workout. Again, bend at the knees, keep your back straight, engage your core, lift the snow and throw using the momentum from your full body. What I do is reps of 5 on one side, switch sides, and repeat. I do this using several different methods of moving the snow as well; in front of me, side to side, over the shoulder… Use your imagination to hit different parts of the body for a full body workout.
The key is to do all of this safely and to not cause injury. Listen to your body and pace yourself. If you have a 2 or 3 car driveway there’s a chance you’ll be out there between 30 minutes and 90 minutes so stop if you get short of breath, start sweating profusely or have chest pain or pain anywhere else. Stretching is also very important.
Also, make sure to dress appropriately. You may be a bit warm, but keep those hats, gloves and sweaters on to keep the heat from escaping your body.
Shoveling snow for 1 hour can burn up to 443 calories.