The Art of Shoveling Snow
This season due to economical restraints on the budget…. I decided to save $700 and shovel the snow from my driveway… I looked at it as a great opportunity to exercise. If I was going to do this all season I would need to find something positive. I was going to become the person in Whistler who knew the best way to shovel the snow, which shovel rocked, and most important how many calories I could burn in a thirty minute or one hour session.
Which Shovel is Best?
We have five snow shovels, and each one has it’s purpose. When Whistler gets a fresh powder dump and the snow is light and fluffy I use the wider bottom shovel and no lifting is required. I just put the shovel on the ground and push ever so lightly across the drive. You do need to be careful and not go across the driveway to fast, if you hit a seam in the cement it’ll stop you cold in your tracks.
The smaller metal shovel is used only for breaking frozen patches of ice and snow. I never use it on the wooden stairs or the sun deck.
We have two blue poly shovels, I keep one on the back deck so I can make it out to the wood shed, and the other at the bottom door to shovel my way to the car. In Whistler we can get anywhere from 20 – 40 cm over night. Interesting thing I noticed when I switched blue shovels was, one was shorter than the other…and this made the shoveling easier for my height.
Then there’s the scooper, this is a big red alumium based shovel with a square yellow handle, I hate this shovel, in fact I can hardly lift it….this is one heavy shovel!
Snow blowers? Our neighbor has two, my friend Niki has one and loves it…they look fabulous and easy, but then I’d get little exercise.
I should have gone out last night and shoveled because this morning the temperature dropped below -9 and the snow was hard and difficult to shovel. When I got through the top 1/2 of snow the lower snow was wetter and heavier, thus sticking to my shovel…that makes more work to shake it off…. For me when shoveling the deck I need to get the snow over the rails, this makes for an excellent arm workout…switching sides gives my arms a rest.
Salt and Sand
Once the driveway is fairly clear I sprinkle rock salt around so the kids don’t slip walking to and from the bus. I usually purchase a 44 lb bag for about $15…. I also use the rock salt on the stairs and paths. When it comes to sand I am always tempted to stop by one of three sheds along the highway…You could buy a load in the city I’m sure, I just haven’t thought of it… and I don’t have a truck.
A Word of Caution
Research has proven that the number of fatal heart attacks increases after a heavy snow fall. If you are not normally physically active you should consult with your doctor prior to shoveling snow. People with heart problems, taking heart medication, respiratory problems should ask about the cardiac risk factors associated with shoveling snow. Make sure you take adequate breaks, never smoke, and believe it or not you should never drink caffeine prior to shoveling. Know your limits and don’t push the envelope…
I can tell you with Christmas behind me now I have a lot of work to do… Exercise that is, or the shoveling of snow..
If you spent an hour shoveling snow you could probably burn about 400 calories….doen’t seem like much but do this five times a week and pretty soon your feeling better, looking better, and your arms will be stronger too. Remember to say to yourself suck it in…Hold that tummy tight, bend your knees, and never put too much snow on the shovel…. I like to shovel slow and then for about one minute do a speed shovel. Your muscles usually only hurt on the first couple of days shoveling, after that your body is conditioned and ready for the task. You might consider stretching before heading outside. Bring a kleenex and some water….Hydration in the winter is important. I usually dress in layers and always where a toque and gloves…even long johns…I am out there to sweat…
Unfortunately for me we have a big drive-way and it is on a slight hill….the children however make the lower ditch into a toboggan run…. we turn on the Christmas lights, crank the tunes…. and make the hour of snow shoveling into a little party….
Your attitude will decide your altitude in life..