Good Morning, Friends! This is The WOW! – The Workout of the Week, for the week of 3/11/19, from GoodAttitudeFood.com. This is The Living In MinneSNOWta Workout, Version 2.0.
This week, my Tai Chi journey continues! I will share some great beginner Tai Chi videos as part of the workout. I will also talk about, you guessed it, more SNOW and snow shoveling tips! I have a great resistance band workout I will be doing on days when not shoveling. Finally, I found a great active stretching routine for upper-body, since most of the work this week is focused on upper body work.
I am writing the post on Sunday morning, after getting another snowfall overnight. This snow was light and fluffy on the surface, but the base layer was a bit of the heavier wet stuff. It rained for a while yesterday before it snowed, so there is a bit of a slush layer underneath. The pile the plow left was all heavy, wet, slushy stuff.
This was not a total “heart-attack” snowfall, but the slushy stuff definitely has some weight. This made me start thinking, “where did the term about ‘heart-attack snow’ come from?”. So, I fired up my “google-machine” and did some LIGHT research. For the post this week I am including some good tips I found on how to handle the snow without having a cardiac event!
It sounds a little funny, but people do need to be a bit cautious. That goes for people who are shoveling AND for those of you with a snowblower! Shoveling is hard work, but so is pushing around a heavy snowblower. Always remember to be safe when dealing with heavy snow.
An Average of 100 People Reportedly Die Every Year Shoveling Snow
According to a BBC article, in a study by the US Children’s Hospital from 1990 to 2006, 1647 people reportedly died from a heart attack while shoveling snow. In that 16-year period of time over 1,600 people died, shoveling snow. This is only reported deaths, there are probably more deaths that occur from this than are recorded
The article states that shoveling is a particularly strenuous task because of some key factors. The article stated that shoveling can increase heart rate and blood pressure in a healthy young person to levels higher than running on a treadmill!
- shoveling can quickly raise heart rate and blood pressure
- cold air causes blood vessels to constrict
- cardiac events are more likely to happen in the morning when many people wake up to shovel
- it is a rare exercise for some people who lead an otherwise sedentary lifestyle
The article goes on to state that the people who performed this study recommend people over age 55 don’t shovel, AT ALL. If you’re over 55 and smoke, YIKES! Cardiologist Barry Franklin is cited in the survey that he thinks the number of deaths from a heart attack while shoveling snow is higher than reported but hard to know for sure.
So How Do We Avoid This Killer Snow Shoveling?
The National Safety Council has some tips listed that can help prevent a cardiac event while shoveling:
- Don’t shovel after eating or while smoking
- stretch before you start
- shovel the snow when it is fresh before it starts to melt or gets packed down
- push the snow, rather than lift the snow, when possible
- When you do lift, keep the load light and use proper form
- lift with legs not back
- do not work to exhaustion
- be aware of the signs of a heart attack and be mindful of yourself!
- **Also check out the safety tips for snowblower use!
What I Do When I Shovel
When I shovel heavy snow I try to push as much as I can. I usually clear sections by pushing for about 10 minutes. Then take a few minute break. Then toss light load shovels of snow to clear the piles I pushed to the sides until the section is clean. I do this for a few minutes then take another break for a minute before pushing the next section for another 10 minutes. While working, I make a conscious effort to control my breathing, much like I do when in a workout. If I start getting hot, it’s time to break for a few minutes!
Sedentary Life + Shoveling Hundreds of LBS of Snow = Big Risk!
An article on the Harvard Health Blog talks about the topic and suggests that maybe the best prevention is being healthy in the first place. Older men who lead an otherwise sedentary lifestyle are most likely to have a cardiac event while shoveling. The Article also warns about using a snowblower, so you dudes need to take it easy too!
The Case For Preventative Exercise
All of these articles I have listed state the highest risk for a cardiac event while shoveling are people who lead an otherwise sedentary lifestyle. Adopting a light exercise routine could help prevent these events. Doing 20 minutes of cardio three times a week, lifting weights or using resistance bands a few times a week, doing Yoga or Tai Chi a few days a week, are all things that anyone could start doing that would help prevent a heart attack in the future. Plus, doing these things will make you feel a heck of a lot better during those long winter months when cabin fever is hitting! Adopt an active lifestyle and avoid
If you do go shovel, take it easy with heavy wet stuff!
The Music – Morning Coffee. (Lofi/JazzHop/Chill Mix)
The music this week is a smooth compilation called Morning Coffee from The Jazz Hop Cafe. I have been listening to mixes on their YouTube channel for weeks and this spot has hours of great, chill beats! Please check out their great content!
Tai Chi Videos
I am continuing to practice some “Tai Chi stuff” this week. I really like these videos from Master Wong. He teaches two simple moves per video. He breaks the move down and explains them well. Anyone can try doing this stuff! Check it out! I am doing a couple of these a day, then going back the next day and practicing the moves again, while adding a new video to keep adding to the moves. I am trying to do about 20 to 30 minutes of “Tai Chi stuff” every day in
Tai Chi for Shoulders!
Resistance Band Work
On days when I am not shoveling… This week I will be doing a resistance band workout with a Tabata interval structure. This more just to structure the routine than to be a cardio Tabata workout. I run through these eight resistance band exercises three times for the full workout. I take about one minute for a break between each 8 round set.
Interval timer set to 8 X 20×10. Eight intervals of 20 seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest.
Moves 1-6 will require an anchor. I use my exercise bike (as pictured above). Might band set came with an anchor strap you could lock into a door frame or into a heavy object too. Moves 7 and 8 will require you to stand on the band as an anchor
**Be careful when doing this because if you don’t stand all the way on your band, it can fly up and smack you. Trust me, I have smacked myself in some not so fun places with my resistance band by not being mindful of my feet.
- **with anchor** butterflies
- reverse butterflies
- standing bench
- bicep curls
- right jabs
- left jabs
- **change anchor to under feet** squats
- “take flights” – start holding hands at sides, move arms like a standing snow angel – or like you are trying to take flight with imaginary wings.
Active Upper Body Stretch
And to wrap up the work this week I found a great upper body stretching routine since most of the work focuses on the upper body this week. This is a great cool-down! Fitness Blender has HOURS and HOURS of workout videos on YouTube. Please show some love to this awesome content provider!
In closing, thank you so much for reading! Thank you to all the AWESOME content providers! This has been the Living in MinneSNOWta Workout, Version 2.0.
Please remember to be careful if you go out to shovel snow, especially if it’s the heavy wet stuff, and especially if you are not used to regular exercise. Follow some of the tips outlined above to help prevent issues. The links I provided have further info too, so please check that out. The best way to prevent a heart issue while shoveling is to have a healthy lifestyle. People can start doing that anytime they choose to. Be happy and healthy my friends! Be the hero in your story!