No more snow excuses! Tips on how to shovel snow safely and efficiently and even turn it into a workout…
Many parts of the UK were blanketed in snow this morning and, believe it or not, this is good news! This is your chance to have a proper Monday workout without hitting the gym.
So, you are pretty likely to have some shovelling to do, which can be dangerous if you are not careful enough. According to a 2011 research conducted in the US, about 11,500 people end up in the emergency room each year from shovelling snow. It’s not uncommon to hurt your back while shovelling, especially if you live a mostly sedentary lifestyle.
For the physically fit and healthy, however, outdoor activity in cold temperatures can actually boost the health benefits of regular physical activity by burning slightly more calories than usual. And if you’re not about to drive to the gym, why not make shovelling work for you? Here’s the right way to clear your driveway and build muscle in the process.
Before shovelling, you need to move in order to warm up all the right muscles. Knee grabs is an easy and fast way to wake up your body. Stand and pull each knee to your chest alternating. Repeat for 12 to 15 reps on each side. Finish with some large arm circles forward and backward.
Shovelling is basically resistance training. If you break the snow-shovelling movement into different parts, you will actually recognise a lot of traditional functional movement exercises. The foundation of the shovelling movement is a squat. The best way to protect your back while shovelling is to ensure that you lift with your legs and not your back. Yes, you’ve heard it before but we will always remind you. Focus on good squat form to bend down and lift each shovelful of snow. With your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider, bend the knees keeping the back straight and the chest lifted. Stop when your thighs are roughly parallel to the ground to scoop the snow onto your shovel. Return to standing, pushing through the heels and not letting your knees go past your toes.
Standing Oblique Shovel Twists
Once you’ve lifted that snow, the safest thing to do is to carry it to your heaping pile rather than fling it over your shoulder. You will experience slight torso rotation while moving the shovel. As you cautiously discard the snow, stand tall and tuck your hips, engaging the core, and rotate to each side five times to engage the obliques.
If you have any back problems, pushing the snow rather than lifting helps cut down on potential back injuries and limits how many reps of squats you’ll be forced to do. But this doesn’t mean you’re off the hook… Lunge your way across the driveway or along the sidewalk as you push your shovel of snow in front of you. Bend the knees until they form 90-degree angles or drop as low as your snow pants and jacket will allow. Keep the front knee in line with the second toe.
For more workouts, see here.