Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow, You Want to Know, "How Many Calories do I Burn Shoveling?

I shoveled last night.  I haven't done that since winter of 2008 because my knee was so messed up.  So, big "shout out" to the gang at the YMCA Healthy Living Center and Mercy Weight Loss and Nutrition Center for getting me healthy enough to shovel.  (Did I really just thank someone for that?  ;)  )

I actually enjoyed it, though it did wear me out, especially after the upper body workout I did with Gwyn yesterday.  But there was something so pure and enticing about pushing the snow away as more fell.  With the exception of my heavy breathing, it was actually peaceful.

My efforts on the driveway (which were wiped out by the continuing snow), reminded me of a post I did a couple of years ago about shoveling.  You see - it's exercise.  It's a combination of cardio and weights.  You get your heart rate up trying to move along quickly and with the weight of moving the snow.

Just one reminder, you hear stories of people having heart attacks after shoveling, so take your time.  It's okay to stop and rest.  As with any other exercise, stay hydrated.  And above all - if you haven't been cleared to go to the gym - shoveling is a NO for you.

All of that being said, I wanted to repost the calorie burn for shoveling.  Like every form of exercise, the number of calories burned depends on what you weigh, how long you do it and how much muscle you have.  Here are three different weight levels, all based on one hour of shoveling (not accounting for the possibility of higher than average muscle mass):

150 pounds - 408 calories
200 pounds - 544 calories
250 pounds - 680 calories

Not bad eh?  If you have already done a workout for the day it's kind of like doing '2-a-days'.  (A term usually reserved for hard core athletes and high school football teams.)  If you have higher muscle mass, as I did at one time, you will burn a slightly higher percentage.  Just one of the many benefits of lifting weights.  

Brenton Skating Plaza
by Chris Chandler
I also wanted to include some other winter activities, since the City of Des Moines announced the sledding hills are open and Brenton Skating Plaza beckons.  These are all based on a 150 pound person:

General ice skating - 476 calories per hour
Skiing downhill light effort - 340 calories per hour
Cross Country skiing light effort - 476 calories per hour
Sledding - 476 calories per hour
Snowshoeing - 544 calories per hour

Hopefully this helps you feel even more fulfilled after clearing your sidewalks.  Besides, your letter carrier appreciates it.  :)

Yours in Health,

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