In New England, we get to live with the benefits of all four seasons. Unfortunately, we also get to live with their idiosyncrasies. I can’t remember ever being at another place where in winter it can snow a foot, warm up and turn to mush, and three hours later be frozen solid crust. If it’s not shoveling your driveway that kills you it’ll be shoveling your elderly neighbor’s. Kinda like Mother Nature has her own color kettlebell: white (sometimes dirt brown).
The good news for us is that as it turns out, a lot of the same techniques and skills we’ve been using for efficiency and strength improvement also work in real life situations; like the snow this week. Functional fitness at it’s finest. See, there are other ‘f-words’ that kettlebells inspire.
I saw a guy shoveling on Wednesday night after work, knees locked, back rounded, throwing snow over his shoulder in an upward twisting motion. Classic mistake.
By locking his knees, he isolated his quads and calves while simultaneously straining his lower back, lats and shoulders. Anybody can tell you after doing this once that it’s not a very comfortable way to take care of the yard work. I can hear Dan yelling, “Straighten up that back!” already.
Keeping a straight back and square shoulders and dumping it rather than throwing it can make the task much healthier. For the people unsure of how to shovel, the ehow.com tutorial agrees.
The benefits go much farther than your driveway; it’s estimated that 1200 people a year die from heart attacks while shoveling. Being more fit and healthy never hurt anybody, especially in New England during the harshest time of year.
So on those snowy days where a night in the powder is worth two in the office, just remember to stay square and strong before Tasmanian deviling into the white banks (sometimes dirt brown).