COMING CLEAN: The Snow-Shoveling Workout

Whether it’s play or work, the snow offers a good opportunity for fitness. Grab a shovel!

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Last week I relied on Mother Nature for my workouts. Within a few days, we were covered with a heavy blanket of snow, the most accumulation in the Twin Cities happening on Wednesday.

Being our first winter in our new house, we didn’t quite know what to expect from shoveling the driveway. (I haven’t lived at a home with a driveway since my parents’ when I was 18. Our garage backed up to the alley at our last home, and all we had to shovel was a short distance of sidewalk.)

The length of drive to the street got special attention from our snow blower, but I took to the landing and dug right in. One of my coworkers caught a news report that said shoveling the snow was the equivalent of lifting nearly 20 pounds per shovel.

I figured, if I move fast enough, I’ll get a cardio workout; with the squatting and lifting of the shoveled snow, I’ll get in some strength training; and keeping steady on the ice will be good for my balance.

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After an hour of shoveling, I was exhausted:

My heart was beating faster, I was sweating under my layers of clothing, and the next day, my arms and core were sore. Success! The aftereffects of a great workout.

I know we start to complain about the snow come February (or maybe you are one to do it now), but the mix of hard work and spending time in nature gave me a natural mood boost. (Get more tips in “Beating the Winter Blues.”) And in the years since I’ve ventured out on snowshoeing expeditions during the winter, I’ve learned to appreciate all the seasons.

What do you do to stay active in the winter?

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