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Dig Your New Body

Written by Jennifer Strailey

Pick up a shovel and get in shape this winter.

Skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing are all great exercise. But the serious winter athlete just grabs a shovel and heaves snow.

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Shoveling snow is aerobic exercise that can burn some serious calories. According to the Medical College of Wisconsin's Health Link Web site, a healthy person who weighs between 120 and 150 pounds can burn approximately 100 calories in 10 to 15 minutes of snow shoveling.

But like any winter sport, snow shoveling is not without its risks. To avoid injury, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons advises shovelers to warm-up for 10 minutes before digging in.

Technique is equally important. The snow-savvy Surgeons offer these six tips for novice diggers:

  1. Push the snow instead of lifting it.
  2. Keep the shovel close to your body.
  3. Position your hands apart on the shovel to increase your leverage.
  4. Before lifting, squat with your legs apart, knees bent and back straight. Lift with your legs and don't bend at the waist.
  5. Don't throw snow over your shoulder or you may stress your back.
  6. If you don't usually exercise, check with your doctor before picking up a shovel.

Those of you in warmer climes don't have to be left out in the cold. Dozens of household chores can help you to burn off those killer holiday calories.

Check the burn rate on your to-do list. Health Link says the following activities use about 100 calories of energy:

  • Vacuum or mop the floor for 25-30 minutes
  • Wash dishes or iron clothes for 45-50 minutes
  • Mow lawn (with a manual mower) for 12-15 minutes
  • Wash or wax the car for 20-25 minutes
  • Stack firewood for 15-20 minutes

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