Clean Up Your Act With This Winter Workout

by Trina Remedios

On days that you're snowed in or a blizzard hits, you inevitably have to draw straws to see who gets the task of keeping the driveway or sidewalk cleared. It's not something you necessarily look forward to, but for those of you who live in snowy climates, it's the harsh reality of the winter season.

But, did you know that this winter chore can make for a great workout? If you've been unable to get to the gym owing to the white winter, think about trying our shoveling workout to get your fitness fix. Trust us, it's a huge calorie burner and great toner for the thighs, back, and shoulders.

The Shovel Workout

  • It's a full-body, endurance building, strength training, cardio session.
  • The average person weighing 150lb can burn approximately 413 calories with 60 minutes of shoveling.
  • The activity engages multiple muscle groups, including the legs, core, back, shoulders and arms.

That said, it's not for the faint-hearted (literally). If you have a heart condition, cholesterol problems, high blood pressure, or are middle aged with a relatively sedentary lifestyle, pass the buck on to the next fella. Now, we're sure you already know how to shovel so we're not about to tell you how to clean up your driveway but, there are...

...Tips To Keep In Mind When Shoveling For Fitness

  • Always Warm-Up: To avoid pulling a muscle, throwing out your back, or damaging your joints, always warm up with some stretching exercises indoors. This will improve blood circulation, generate body heat, and get you primed for the strenuous activity. Simple lunges for the legs, making arm circles to open the shoulders, and doing the Russian twist to flex the back muscles is enough.
  • Learn To Lighten The Load: Feeling the brunt of heavy weight lifting? Push the snow to the corners instead of trying to lift and fling it. Also, using a smaller shovel will help regulate the load you're carrying on its own.
  • Lift With The Legs: Bending back and forth will strain your spine. The ideal way is to bend from the knees in a half sit-up motion to lift the load, which your strong leg muscles can endure far better than your back.
  • Gear Up: Wear protective gear from head to toe and pair this with shoes with good traction. Also, stay hydrated by sipping on some water every 15 minutes.

For The Advanced Lot

  • Make It An Interval Style Training Session: If you're an active individual who works out, you can shovel up to 15 scoops per minute with a 15-second rest period before you resume the next cycle. For those with a body weight between 120-145lb, you can lift up to 1,165lb per minute, but remember to lift the shovel approximately 40 inches above the ground.
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