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Shoveling to lose weight

Shoveling driveways burns calories
Shoveling driveways burns calories
Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images

Winter is the time of year when the average person will put on a few pounds, but exercise is easy to find for anyone living where it snows often and is ready to put their body to work with a shovel. Legs and arms start to burn, back starts to ache, breathing comes in deeper and quicker, and hats come off as sweat drips into the eyes.

Shoveling gets the body to heat up as fast, or faster, than any exercise people drive to the gym for. Picking up a shovel and throwing some snow around can race the heart up to maximum capacity in just a few minutes for anyone who wants to get a few inches of snow out of the way to start the car. Many heart attacks occur following heavy snow falls because people who do not normally exercise pick up a shovel and throw everything they have into the snowbank without warming up first.

Like any exercise, it is always recommended to warm up before shoveling. The best way could simply be walking behind the shovel as the snow slowly gets pushed off to the snow bank. No heavy lifting or quick pushing and turning until the heart rate has slowly increased to at least 50 percent of maximum heart rate. Max heart rate can be easily calculated by taking 220 and subtracting age. For a 30 year old person, the max heart rate would be around 190.

Shovel snow for 30 minutes each day and a person could get just as good of exercise as another person using an elliptical or some other cardiovascular machine at the gym for 30 minutes at the same intensity. Shoveling, however, will also get work done and save money from paying a plow truck to do the work or buying gas for a snowblower. So pick up a shovel, warm up, be careful, and get some exercise while cleaning the driveway!