When it snows, the most stressful part is not knowing how long you’re going to be in this mess. But that’s life in New England, among many other places, in the winter – a lot of cold, messy weather. Here are a couple tips to help make your life less-stressful when the storm hits. Try to maintain your normal routines as much as possible – maintaining activities like when you wake up, when and what you eat, and what time you go to bed –help your body balance out psychologically and cognitively more than you might realize. If dealing with the weather seems overwhelming, it would be a good time to let other people help you out with tasks such as shoveling and driving. Facts About Shoveling: 15 minutes of snow shoveling counts as moderate physical activity, which is about half of what everyone should aim for daily. For a frame of reference, a 170-pound person shoveling for 30 minutes will burn about 250 calories – that’s about the same as dancing or brisk walking (other great winter appropriate exercises). The average shovel loaded with 16 pounds of snow ends up moving 192 pounds of snow if you load your shovel about 12 times a minute. That’s almost 2,000 pounds being lifted in just over 10 minutes! Warm up your muscles before shoveling, by walking for a few minutes or marching in place. Stretch the muscles in your arms and legs, because warm muscles will work more efficiently and be less likely to be injured. Lift with your legs not your back. Bend your knees and keep your back as straight as possible so that the lifting comes from your leg muscles, not your back. This will help prevent soreness later on. Do push. Don’t lift. Save your back and your energy by simply pushing the snow to the side instead of lifting the snow and throwing it off to the side. Listen to your body. Take a break or have someone help if shoveling is becoming too difficult or overwhelming.
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