Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. And it does. Plenty! We were hit with one snow storm after another these past years and you had to get out and shove. Did you feel your back and abs after shoveling? The act of shoveling snow not only works your upper and lower back, but your abdominals, external obliques and legs as well. Not to mention the Cardio Vascular benefits to boot! (Yes, pun intended!)
Of course if you already have a bad back, shoveling will not be the best thing for you. But if you exercise throughout the year strengthening your back and abs you might welcome the shoveling to reap the benefits of all those work outs you did.
If you’ve ever had a heart attack, if you have heart disease, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, you probably don’t want to do the shoveling yourself. Or at the very least, you should consult your doctor before going out and shoveling.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when shoveling:
- Lift with your legs, not your back. Bend your knees and keep your back as straight as possible so that the lifting comes from your leg muscles, not your back. Never bend at the waist. Step in the direction that you’re throwing snow. This will help prevent the lower back from twisting and will help alleviate any back soreness that you might experience after a hard shoveling job.
- Create some distance between the hands. This will give you more leverage and make it easier to lift snow.
- Pick up smaller loads of snow. It’s best to shovel by sections. If you’re shoveling deep snow (a foot or more), take it easy and shovel two or three inches off at a time.
- Do some stretching afterwards to help reduce the soreness. Here are a few stretch:
- The Yoga Cat/Cow for the lower back.
- Hug Stretch for the upper back
- Side Bends for the external obliques
- Lumbar Roll for lower back & abs
There are benefits to shoveling. Let’s not forget the calories you will burn while shoveling. Shoveling 30 minutes will burn 200 calories. So work off that hot cocoa with marshmallows.
Holly Kouvo is a certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Specialist, speaker and writer who specializes in helping people lose hundreds of pounds. Learn more at www.FittingFitnessIn.com.