This winter, have it both ways! Shovel your way to health and a snow-free driveway!

This winter, have it both ways! Shovel your way to health and a snow-free driveway!

Shovelling snow could almost be a national pastime, but more often than not it’s a dreaded task which is physically demanding to boot. It’s time to take up your shovels!

Shovelling snow is a synonym for health

Shovelling snow is a very physically strenuous activity. Not only does it engage the muscles in your upper body, shoulders and arms, it also gives you a pretty good cardiovascular workout. For example, if you shovel snow for 30 minutes, you’ll burn more calories than pedalling on a stationary bike.

Opt for the HealthWise way

  • Pick the right shovel! Avoid injury by selecting a shovel that is right for your height. The handle has to be long enough so that you don’t have to bend over to push the snow. If you use a smaller shovel, you won’t be lifting as much and so won’t overtax your heart.
  • Prepare! Take the time to warm up your muscles by doing a few stretching exercises beforehand.
  • Take your time! Why not organize a group activity to enjoy the snow? Get the little ones and the grown-ups to join in! This way you won’t get tired too quickly…
  • Get lots to drink! Drink lots of water because you can get dehydrated just as easily in winter as you do in summer.

Shovel the pain-free way: a few tips on technique

  • Bend your knees and force with your legs instead of your back.
  • Let your arms and legs do the work and keep your back straight.
  • Keep one foot ahead of the other, near the shovel, to protect your back.

Cardiovascular problems: don’t overdo it!

Even if physical activity is always a good idea, shovelling heavy snow can prove to be too much for those with heart problems. If you have a health problem, see your doctor before tackling the snow.