Snow shoveling safety and exercise benefits.
People often fail to realize that shoveling snow is more than just a winter necessity. It can be a terrific workout – if done correctly. What you need to be careful of is minor strains- either from not being in shape or from twisting and turning – to pulled muscles from trying to push too much or very heavy snow to fatal heart attacks.
You are more apt to injure yourself if you are out of shape or older – or in my case! both. Even those who are in great shape and exercise regularly can injure themselves if shoveling to strenuously, and for too long at a time. Some signs that it is time to take a break are any kind of pain, shortness of breath, or heavy sweating.
There are steps you can take to make the shoveling task easier:
- Take breaks any time you are winded, hurting, sweating or overheated.
- Be sure your shovel is in good shape.
- Use a smaller shovel – this will keep you from trying to move too much snow.
- Stay hydrated – when you take a break get a drink.
- Take a break, rather than convincing yourself it has to be done all at once.
There are many benefits to snow shoveling as exercise:
Snow shoveling is an activity that works the large muscle groups of the body and is a wonderful form of exercise that raises the heart rate and burns many calories. It is a fun and timely activity that can compliment any exercise program especially for people who have cardiovascular risk factors. A 200 lb person can burn up to 400 calories shoveling snow for just 30 minutes. It is, however, necessary to follow the same rules as any exercise program: 1)Warm up & stretch, 2)Follow proper lifting techniques and 3)Know when enough is enough.