Shoveling–the Ultimate Full Body Workout

As you know by now, we in the Northeast have just survived a HUGE blizzard with, as an added gift, very strong winds (which are responsible for some pretty epic snow drifting). The Crankee Yankee (my husband) and I, along with three horrified cats, watched as both our vehicles disappeared in snow. Both front and back outside doors could not be opened completely as so much snow had drifted against them. The thermometer read a warm and toasty ZERO degrees. So we sighed, made a big breakfast and ate it while figuring out our strategies for snow removal, and then bundled up to go out and face the music.

By our reckoning, we got about 30″ of snow. Light and fluffy snow, to be sure–but still, 30″ of it is a lot of snow to move. The Crankee Yankee couldn’t even get to the snowblower, so first we had to shovel; he took the front of the house and I took the back.

A note on snow shoveling: I think that, like a runner’s high, you get a little cranked up while shoveling. I had it in my head that I was going to shovel out until I reached the driveway–no matter what. I have two torn rotator cuffs, but I’ve learned to manage pretty well despite that. I’ve worked out a good snow shoveling technique: start at the top of the snow and scoop light amounts of it until you reach ground zero. It takes longer, but it works.

So about 45 minutes later, the Crankee Yankee and I met shovel to shovel and he was able to get to the snowblower to finish everything off. By this time, my feet, fingers and face were numb, so I stumbled back inside and took a long hot shower. After that, I bundled up in warm clothes, and spent most of the day wrapped in blankets.

Now, here’s the thing about the full-body workout that is snow shoveling in New England: it takes your entire body to do it, especially when your exercise equipment is 30″ of snow. This means that your ‘recovery’ from shoveling a whole blizzard’s worth of snow will take a while, but trust me–you’ll have worked every single shred of muscle you own by the time you’re done.

In fact, I’m taking the rest of the week off from my usual exercise routine. Considering what I put my body through yesterday, I think I’ll even take myself out to lunch. This is really the only thing I mind about getting older–it just takes longer to recover. But that said, I’m glad that the Crankee Yankee and I can still keep up with the snow and the shovels. It’s one of those little victories that make you feel you are still in the game.

As we sat on the couch together last night, all three cats sacked out around us, we congratulated ourselves for surviving both the shoveling and the cold. ‘We still got it!’ we crowed. And then we saw the weather forecast for the end of the week: we are getting MORE snow.

By April, we ought to be able to play our six-pack abs like dueling xylophones…



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