I hate the cold!
I didn’t mind the cold at all when I was a kid, because I loved playing in the snow, having snowball fights, building snow forts and giant snowmen, and of course the cold meant HOCKEY! Now that I’m an adult, I think I may hate winter.
This time of year it means the snow has started falling, it means LOTS of shovelling needs to be done. Besides being a pain in the ass, the problem with shovelling is that it can lead to many injuries, especially soft tissue injuries in the back, knees and hip, and for some older folks and people with heart conditions, 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 shovelling snow. Studies found only 7% of the injuries seen shovelling were heart related, but for those with a heart condition, all deaths associated with shovelling were due to heart attacks.
I don’t think many people like shovelling 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 a couple hours a week to shovel snow usually eats into my gym time. Because of this, what I’ve started to do is make my shovelling my warmup for my workout for the day. I throw on my iPod, crank the tunes and get ‘er done.
Here are a few tips to make shovelling snow a good and SAFE workout.
- Make shovelling 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 legs, 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 hip and knees, loading the weight into your quads and hamstrings, and 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.
- Workout 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 got my workout. Again, bend at the hips and 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.
Shovelling snow for 1 hour can burn up to 443 calories.