I liked UJ’s post about New Year’s resolutions. I think almost everyone — except for supermodels, movie stars, and the exceptionally rare individual like UJ who has stayed at his same weight since high school — vows to lose weight in the new year. Health club memberships get sold, treadmills get bought, and two months later the health club is a forgotten option and the tread mill has become an expensive clothes hanger.
I think more people would be in better shape if they just did the basic chores around the house the old-fashioned way. Rake the leaves with a rake, instead of using a leaf blower. Mow the lawn and weed the flowerbeds, rather than hiring a service. And, when it snows, shovel your driveway and walkways instead of hiring a guy with a snowblower.
As I’ve mentioned, we’ve gotten a lot of snow recently. Today I set out to shovel our driveway, and I think it was a pretty good workout. To begin with, it was overcast and cold outside, maybe 20 degrees. There were about six inches of snow on the driveway. We’d been driving over it to get to the garage, so most of the snow had been pulverized into a hard layer of compressed snow and ice. The only effective way to remove it was to use a flat-edged regular shovel and try to jimmy under the edge of the snow/ice layer and then flip it up, uncovering the asphalt beneath. It was slow going, and with all of the chipping and carrying of ice chunks to the side of the driveway it didn’t take long to get warm and then break a sweat. At the base of the driveway, where some salt from the road had mixed with the snow, there was a thick, heavy, churned mass of slush that adhered to the shovel when you scooped it up and then tried to dump it on the side. Repeatedly scooping, shaking, and tapping shovels full of damp slush will definitely get your heartbeat going. The calorie count website says that shoveling snow for an hour burns 408 calories, about equivalent to one and a half Snickers bars.
When you do something like shoveling, it is of course important to have some good music on the Ipod to help you through your chore. Today I used my “Empty Nest” playlist, which consists solely of songs I’ve heard since Russell went off to college. It was an inspired selection. I’m A Ram by Gov’t Mule and Reptilia by the Strokes, for example, are songs well suited to hacking away at ice and snow on a frigid day.