It’s January and more snow is on the way! Get a workout in your driveway and pick up a shovel. It’s more economical than a snow blower, and shoveling is an intense cardio workout that exercises muscles in your legs, core, back, shoulders and arms. If you want to overachieve, you can extend the workout by shoveling the sidewalks or helping out your neighbors. How’s that for accessible? Here are some important ways you can use snow shoveling to make this workout work!
Burn up calories. Shoveling burns more calories than most exercisers realize. The exact amount depends on pace and intensity, but expect to burn around 250 calories for every 30 minutes of shoveling. If you experience lower temperatures, heavy snowfall, or the need to chop ice, you’ll burn even more calories as your body fights to stay warm and increases exertion. (Be safe, of course, and don’t shovel snow if you have a medical condition or you don’t normally exercise.)
Work different muscle groups. Shoveling snow is a high-intensity workout – especially if you shovel fast – and it works all of your major muscle groups. You will feel it the next day in your legs, core, back, shoulders and arms. Use a full range of motion and fire your core muscles as you bend and lift.
Use proper technique. As with all workouts, proper technique will help improve your workout and avoid strains and soreness. First off, make sure to squat and lift the snow with your legs, not your back. Second, avoid bending over at the hip flexors. Lastly, keep the shovel close to your body and walk to where you will dump the snow instead of over-extending, twisting or leaning to toss it.
Dress right. Layer, layer, layer. Skip the frostbite and retain the quality workout. Being too cold can be dangerous and will tighten up your muscles. Dress in winter layers, wear good boots with traction (snow and ice mixed can be treacherous) and cover up your hands, ears and head! Remember, being under-dressed in the elements can result in injuries, so bundle up right and focus on your cardio and calorie burn!
Dig out from the snow this year and pave the way to a great winter workout – right outside your door!
And if the cold weather and ice keep you from getting the full workout you need, consider a treadmill, elliptical, or functional strength trainer for your home to keep you in shape when the rain, snow or cold keep you indoors. Stop by HealthStyles Exercise Equipment and take a look at our great selection of quality indoor cardio and strength equipment to fit any pocketbook.
Fit Tips are provided by Life Fitness, the leader in designing and manufacturing high-quality exercise equipment for fitness facilities and homes worldwide. For more information on Fit Tips and other fitness advice and expertise visit www.lifefitness.com/blog.