Shoveling Snow

The white stuff is starting to fly again. Most people look out their window and grimace, as this means getting bundled up to do the necessary evil of removing snow from driveways, steps, and sidewalks. But instead of firing up the snow blower and letting it do a majority of the work, consider the health benefits of manually using a shovel this winter season. Through using correct form, preparation, and caution, shoveling snow can be a fun and challenging physical exercise. It creates the same benefits found in a regular exercise program, such as: strengthening bones and muscle, combating illness, relieving stress, improving mood, and assisting in good sleep patterns.

You are also burning calories while shoveling. In a half hour session of moderate snow shoveling, an average person can burn more than 250 calories. This is an added bonus to help keep winter weight in check. Cardiovascular or aerobic exercise is important for your heart and circulatory system. Any exercise (including shoveling) that involves large muscle groups, like your legs, is beneficial to your heart and lungs and can help lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol. Bending, lifting, reaching and tossing with a weight of snow at the end of a shovel are all good for muscle tone and development.

Depending on where you live and how much skin is exposed during your shoveling endeavor, you may also be lucky enough to absorb a little of the winter-elusive UVB rays that help your body make Vitamin D.

While snow shoveling can have health benefits, many people make the mistake of thinking of it only as a task and not as the strenuous exercise it is. Even healthy adults should use caution by stretching before and after shoveling, taking frequent breaks, staying hydrated, and avoiding overexertion. Additionally, people with heart or other serious medical conditions should avoid the activity altogether.

About the Author

Christopher Kazda is a Certified Personal Trainer and a Chiropractic Technician at New Beginnings Chiropractic, 1861 Business Hwy 18/151, Mount Horeb, WI 53572. He is available Monday through Saturday to help you reach your fitness goals.

Please call 715-302-2153 or 608-437-9990, email at, or visit, for more information or to schedule an appointment.