Exercise That Works: Shoveling Snow

Peter's picture

As the first Winter storm of the season lumbered through the region yesterday, I had the opportunity to have a free workout shoveling snow. It felt great. It was rewarding in more than one way as well: I got a great workout and I got a clear driveway. For my health, happiness and pocket book, I almost wish it would snow three time a week! Read on to see why.

I Hate Gyms

I've always felt a bit like a rat when I go to a gym to work out. You've probably felt it at one time or other too. Without too much effort, a treadmill to gerbil wheel analogy jumps to mind. But it isn't just the treadmill that bugs me, the weights do too. I'm pickin' it up; I'm puttin' it down; now I'm pickin' it up again; now I'm puttin' down again. It's not the hard work that bothers me, it's the artificiality of the whole experience. In fact, I love the feeling I get after a physically demanding activity. I find it very satisfying. It's just the gym experience that I don't like.

Two Birds, One Stone

It's not always easy in an urban environment but I prefer to have my exercise double as a useful chore. This latest snow shoveling experience is a great example. You see, my neighbours are away and I'm taking care of their place while they are gone, so I got to shovel two driveways. It was one of the best workouts I've had in a long time. I was outside in the fresh air for almost an hour and a half. I got some work done and the results were easy for me to see. I got some much needed exercise too. Overall it was a great experience.

How Is Shoveling Snow Better Than The Gym?

Well, here's a few reasons:

  • It's cheaper - a shovel is a lot cheaper than a gym membership.
  • It's within walking distance - generally I just walk out the door and when I'm done I just walk back in the door.
  • It gets other work done besides just exercise.
  • I get some fresh air.
  • I get to spend some time outside.
  • I get to say hello to my neighbours - at least the ones who aren't traveling.
  • I can see the results of my efforts immediately.
  • It's tough to justify putting it off for a few days.
  • It is cheaper than owning and operating a snow blower.

The only thing that makes a gym better is that its availability is more predictable. I likely won't get a chance to shovel snow three times each week ... unless I want to shovel it back into the driveway but then I'd feel like I was undoing my previous work and I'd start to feel like a rat again.

So shoveling snow: it's almost a frugal living holy grail! If only we could control the weather.

Have a great weekend!


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And bagging up leaves :)

Peter's picture

Yep, most yard work can

Yep, most yard work can provide a nice bit of exercise and accomplish something useful at the same time.

That's a lot of leaves by the way!

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