Anybody who has ever shoveled snow knows that it can be hard work. Depending on how heavy the snow is, how long it takes you to shovel, how full you fill your shovel during each scoop and how quickly you shovel, it can be considered anywhere between a moderate or vigorous form of exercise. Because of this the number of calories burned shoveling snow varies from person to person.
Calories Burned Shoveling Snow
The number of calories burned shoveling snow depends on your age, weight, how long you shovel and the intensity of your shoveling. I checked a few online calorie calculators and found that I burn about 400 calories per hour shoveling snow. I also checked this against my heart rate monitor the last time I shoveled snow. According to the monitor, I burned 210 calories in 35 minutes, which works out 360 calories per hour. See the links to the calorie calculators at the end of this post to calculate it for your own age, weight and time.
According to this Harvard Medical School article, shoveling snow can be a trigger for heart attacks. It has also been known to cause sore backs, shoulders, arms and legs. This is the “weekend warrior” symptom, where people who otherwise rarely exercise suddenly decide to lift and move hundreds of pounds of snow. The truth is that shoveling should be treated as any other form of exercise. You should only do it if you are in good health and you should make sure you warm up before you start. I would also recommend shoveling smaller loads more often rather than less big loads of snow.
If you do exercise regularly, then the health risks are not as great. In fact, shoveling snow can be used as another exercise to fit into your exercise routine. This can help you from getting bored with doing the same thing every day and can help you exercise different muscle groups.