Shoveling snow IS a workout.
And a very tough one at that, since it involves multiple body parts working together.
Treat it like one.
Shoveling snow will find your weakest link and test it to its limit.
Here are some suggestions to help your workout more efficient and keep yourself injury free.
1. Hydrate before, during and after you have returned back to your warm house. Water should be enough if you are finished within an hour. Electrolytes will need to be included for longer duration.
2. As with any workout, you should warm up and stretch specifically for the actions you will be doing. Ease into the work. Begin with smaller shovel loads and smaller movements. The weight can gradually increase as you limber up and allow your heart rate increase gradually.
3. Balance both sides of the body by switching the direction you clear the snow. Even if that means you are working at a slower pace on your weaker side, that's ok. This can be great for recovery of your breathing and heart rate. By ensuring you are balancing the effort on each side, your weaker side will be as natural as your dominant side, or close to it.
4. If expecting a lot of snow (as we certainly have with each snow storm this year) it might be best to tackle the shoveling task a few times throughout the day before it becomes too much.
5. If possible try not to raise the snow over chest height. This will help reduce the risk of heart attack.
6. There's no need to fill the shovel. Less loads, will make it easier and faster than over packing each time. Time management studies during the Industrial Revolution found that giving slightly smaller shovels to the guys shoveling coal into the steam engines resulted in the same volume of coal being shoveled in a shorter time. This meant that workers were not fatiguing as quickly and most importantly, working without injuring themselves. So, maybe that extra big shovel isn't doing you as many favors as you think. You may do great with it initially, but your form will probably suffer and then injury will be more likely.
7. Remember to take breaks often and listen to your body. When you are doing a typical workout or a Bootcamp session, you would listen to your body and ease back or take a break before you're broke. However, clearing snow is more difficult to stop in the moment because you are most likely way closer to completing the task and you instinctively push to finish it. Often this is when your weak link gives out or when you slip or fall. It is far better to come back to it later, as annoying as that may be.
8. Throw something in the crock pot before you go out. ;) 😊👍
9. If possible, pay a neighbor or your insured plow guy to do it. Your coffee will taste so much better looking out at the Winter Wonderland when it doesn't equate hours of physical labor in your mind.
Enjoy the fresh air workout.