Does Shoveling Snow Count as Exercise? (Everyday Health)

Posted: Jan 13, 2023 in In the News

This article originally appeared in Everyday Health on January 13, 2023.


Does Shoveling Snow Count as Exercise?

By Colleen Stinchcombe

Anyone who has cleared a driveway knows that shoveling is physically taxing. But does it count as exercise?

It depends on how you define a workout, according to Anthony Wall, an American Council on Exercise (ACE)–certified personal trainer and the director of international business development at ACE.

If you’re talking about exercise as a form of physical activity that is planned, structured, repetitive, and has the goal of improving health or fitness (as ACE has defined the term), shoveling when a big storm blows in doesn’t fit, he says. But that’s not the whole story.

Shoveling can definitely be considered cardio, and if you do it regularly, you’ll likely build some strength, too, Wall says.

But because the activity can be physically taxing, consider the risks before you break out the shovel.

Shoveling Can Be Considered a Cardio Workout

While it’s debatable if shoveling should be called exercise, it absolutely counts toward the 150 minutes of physical activity per week recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Wall says. It falls more into the cardio category than strength, he says, because you do it for longer than a typical strength-training workout, he explains.

Don’t let the routine nature of the activity fool you. Shoveling is seriously vigorous and likely more physically strenuous than you might normally want to do for exercise, says Stephen Morris, MD, MPH, an emergency medicine physician at University of Washington Medicine in Seattle. It can even mimic peak exertion on a stress test (a tool doctors use to measure how hard your heart is working during physical activity), according to the Cleveland Clinic. If this kind of activity is out of the ordinary for you, it may even raise your risk of heart attack.

Read the full article here.

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