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Snow Shoveling - Cardio Workout or Not?

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Posts: 4,763
2/25/13 2:28 P

yes I think so... if I shovel snow for a couple of hours I have no energy left to swim... I also need to take breaks... like interval training

Posts: 38
2/25/13 2:10 P

breathing hard? sweating? then it's cardio! :)

SparkPoints: (31,051)
Fitness Minutes: (18,571)
Posts: 9,111
2/24/13 7:36 P

Oh, you bet. Shoveled twice today!

SparkPoints: (3,198)
Fitness Minutes: (2,326)
Posts: 53
2/24/13 7:29 P

moderate cardio for sure!

Posts: 756
2/24/13 8:28 A

mmm...I would count it more toward strength training than cardio, IMHO

SparkPoints: (153,789)
Fitness Minutes: (146,965)
Posts: 5,387
2/24/13 7:38 A


SparkPoints: (18,683)
Fitness Minutes: (30,311)
Posts: 845
2/23/13 11:07 P

Oh yessssssssssssssss!

SparkPoints: (164,984)
Fitness Minutes: (67,477)
Posts: 9,145
2/23/13 8:10 P

Very interesting comments/responses to my question. Thank you all.

@SargeantMajor - This was split into two chunks of shoveling, each 1-1/4 hours of SOLID shoveling, snow that was 12+ inches deep. My heart rate was up and my shirt and sports bra under my coat were soaked clean through.

@DougLye - Not powder snow. Also had a bit of sleet mixed in. Not super heavy snow, but definitely not powder.

I log all of my exercise on SparkPeople, so in the end, I decided to count it. Thanks again!

Posts: 321
2/23/13 7:31 P

Most definetly cardio

Posts: 1,598
2/23/13 6:39 P

I'd definitely count it as cardio. Or rather -- if I wasn't sure how to track it, I'd at least mentally count it and consider it cardio. Even if the brain doesn't know how to calculate the calories burned, the body knows.

Posts: 1,782
2/23/13 4:47 P

Knock on wood - I've not had to shovel any snow this winter. I would, however, count it as cardio if I had to do so. I know I work up quite a sweat and use multiple muscle groups when I shovel our typical wet, heavy snow.

Posts: 33,498
2/23/13 2:56 P

Well, you often state the people should not be counting calories from exercise at all. So how can something "count" or "not count" if you're not counting anything?

This would imply that your oft-repeated mantra of not counting exercise is not actually how you personally live. Perhaps you need to think about how you're phrasing that recommendation and whether it's actually offering the intent you think?

Posts: 6,412
2/23/13 2:47 P

You are correct Deb, I do exercise and record it in my personal log book but do not track it on Spark.I also track my food intake but here again not on Spark. To presume that I do not monitor, track and record what I do due to my lack of interest in entering it on Spark is an error.

Posts: 33,498
2/23/13 2:36 P

Sgt you don't count anything anyway. :) You always say "count food, not exercise" so one would assume that you don't have exercise "things you count and things you don't" because you don't track exercise...

Posts: 1,534
2/23/13 12:57 P

I don't count it if it was powder snow.
I definitely count it (but I don't track it) if its more than 2 inches of that wet heavy snow that tests the mettle of the shovel and the shoveller.

Thank goodness the threat of snow is over.

SparkPoints: (51,442)
Fitness Minutes: (44,929)
Posts: 3,048
2/23/13 12:47 P

when it comes to activities like that, I manually enter them, and put the calories burned at 1. That way, I know that I did the activity, but it doesn't throw my everything out of whack.

When I used to have to shovel my driveway, sidewalk and alley it would take upwards of three hours. Thankfully, I moved and now have a utility tractor with a front end bucket

Posts: 6,412
2/23/13 11:45 A

Since it only takes me about 20 to 30 minutes to shovel my 160 feet of sidewalk I do not bother to count it. I guess I am just a purist at heart, if I do not do it on a regular basis, in a regular manner and in a structured format I do not bother to count it.

Posts: 33,498
2/23/13 12:17 A

You provided an excellent definition of cardio in your opening post. Yes, things that meet those criteria are cardio.

Things like shovelling snow for a couple of hours are very hard to accurately track, but they are definitely exercise.

I'm not sure I'd personally trust any entry on a tracker like "snow shovelling - 2.5 hours". Partly because you probably weren't for a full-on two hours. You might have rested, moved down the path a bit, or otherwise stopped momentarily now and then.

Maybe count up to 500 calories in exercise for this (less if it gives less, but I doubt it will), but no more, in order to prevent inaccurately overtracking it.

SparkPoints: (56,434)
Fitness Minutes: (14,252)
Posts: 9,588
2/22/13 9:44 P

Heck yeah! I would normally say don't track activities like that, but 2 1/2 hours shoveling snow is some serious work. ;) Take credit!

SparkPoints: (11,957)
Fitness Minutes: (2,625)
Posts: 167
2/22/13 9:27 P

I spent time shoveling also. Good old Nebraska weather! I definitlely counted it. It's listed under the search as a cardio workout.

SparkPoints: (158,833)
Fitness Minutes: (112,042)
Posts: 46,222
2/22/13 9:24 P


Most definitely I would count it. Housework is one thing, but heavy duty activities like shoveling snow or chopping wood I would count.

Coach Nancy

SparkPoints: (164,984)
Fitness Minutes: (67,477)
Posts: 9,145
2/22/13 8:50 P

So I spent almost 2-1/2 hours yesterday shoveling snow. It was continuous, I was working hard and I was breathing hard.

Just taking an informal poll - is shoveling snow a cardio workout or not?

My vote is yes. I was using major muscle groups (arms and legs, as I was shoveling and moving snow across the driveway most of the time), I kept it up for an extended period of time and I could feel that my heart rate was up.

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