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Nor’Easters Make For Great Functional Fitness

February 12, 2010 0 Comments

images (1)We here in the Northeast are dealing with the effects of not one, but two major snow storms in the span of less than a week.  For someone like me who always imagines himself on the beach, these are not my kind of days.  However, nothing is ever as bad as it seems and things could always be worse – that’s what’s called keeping a positive frame of mind.  Shoveling, as much as I loathe the activity, provides some of the best functional exercise there is.  And it burns a lot of calories!

Functional Training and The Snow

Functional training, one of the biggest buzz words in fitness, is simply defined as exercise that is replicable and relevant to real world activity.  No strength machine with guide rods and weight stacks can provide and replicate the real life movement that a pulley system, dumbbell, elastic band, or medicine ball can provide.  While time spent in the gym developing strength is not for naught, the pushing, scooping, lifting, and rotating of snow shoveling is unlike any workout that can be performed indoors.

Put Down The Weights, Pick Up a Shovel

With 30+ inches of snow, there’s plenty of resistance to be had.  Add some wind shear, below freezing temperatures, and the fact that most shovel loads needed to be taken farther than usual (there’s so much snow and no where to put it), there was lots of opportunity to burn some serious calories. For some, shoveling snow represents the most exercise they’ve gotten all year.  But whether shoveling was the only exercise you got or in addition to your regular exercise plan, most would be happy to know that compared to other types of physical activity, shoveling snow is one of the greatest calories burned per minute activity out there.  Who would have thought that the shovel that sits in the shed the other 363 days of the year was the best piece of fitness equipment that you ever bought?

About the Author:

Jeff Harrison is a fitness coach based in Pottstown, PA. He received a BS in Exercise and Sport Science from Penn State University and is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), NSCA Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT) and ACE Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist (ACE-AHFS). Jeff's articles have been published in peer-reviewed journals as well as consumer oriented websites and magazines.

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