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I know, I know.  SNOW is one of the dirtiest 4 letter words…especially if you have to work in it, travel in it, or are the one responsible for clearing it from your sidewalk, driveway, or parking space. It’s cold. It’s heavy. It makes everything slippery. Events get cancelled. You’re stuck in the house with the kids. The market is complete chaos. And now….you need to shovel. I’m with you.  I. Hate. Snow.

Before you go declaring your unadulterated hatred for the powdery white flakes, maybe- just maybe-this can be reframed into an opportunity to get active.

I already know that you have no intention of traveling in this mess.  There will be no brisk 15-30 minute walk when its 14 degrees, 35mph winds, and the roads and sidewalks are slick.  The gym may be closed due to the inclement weather (and quite frankly, even if it was open, you weren’t going anyway).

Why not use this opportunity to burn off some of that cabin fever food?

Did you know that a 150 lb. person can burn between 400-600 calories in an hour of shoveling? If you weigh more than that, you burn even more. And even more if the snow is heavy (as it may very well be this weekend).

Before you channel your cabin fever frustrations on the powdery white stuff, here are a few snow shoveling reminders….which we honestly wouldn’t need if we thought of shoveling as we would any other outdoor exercise.

  1. Dress appropriately. Do we need to say this? Apparently. Light, breathable, layers. Boots with appropriate tread. Gloves. Hat. Yatta. Yatta.Yatta.
  2. Just like any other form of exercise, you don’t want to shovel immediately after eating or while smoking.
  3. Warm up and stretch before starting and pace yourself. You do NOT want to have a heart attack because you underestimated the how hard you heart works during shoveling.
  4. Shovel early and often if there is a lot of snow predicted. No one wants to shovel a foot of heavy snow. No one.
  5. If the snow is super deep, shovel a few inches at a time. Take a little off the top, like a barber, and work your way down.
  6. Take breaks and drink water.
  7. Protect your back, by remembering to bend at the knees and hips.
  8. Hopefully, you have a shovel that’s not too big (or you will move too much snow at a time) and ergonomically designed with a slight curve in the handle. If not- use extra precaution to push- don’t lift- the snow.

Finally, as we brace for this big storm, use the same strategies that you use to get through any tough workout that you aren’t looking forward to. My go to motivation-music. But you can use whatever gets you through.

Here’s to another opportunity to get moving in Philly! Stay safe and warm!