Project Snow: Turning Yard Work Into Body Work

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on November 9, 2009


Project Snow Tip #4: Outdoor work does count as a great workout!

On Saturday, I was debating between a few exercise ideas:

1) Hit up gym

2) Hit up pavement for walk or run

3) Do yard work that desperately needed to be done!

I felt guilty because Eric was hard at work cleaning the gutters out…


So I didn’t really want to go somewhere else to workout when I could just stay and help him!

I was a bit skeptical that I wouldn’t really feel like I got in a good workout from raking leaves.

Was I ever wrong! Within a minute my arms were burning and my heart rate was up.

I had my green tea to keep me hydrated. It is important to stay hydrated even when it is cooler outside.


Then I decided to turn my raking into a mini outdoor bootcamp to tone my ENTIRE body!


I focused the bootcamp intervals on the LEGS since my arms were already getting a killer workout from raking!

60 Minute Mini Outdoor Fall Bootcamp

1) Minutes 1-10: Rake leaves for 10 minutes

2) Minutes 10-12: Do 20 lunges on each leg

3) Minutes 13-23: Rake leaves for 10 minutes

4) Minutes 24-26: Do 20 squats on each leg

5) Minutes 27-37: Rake leaves 10 minutes

6) Minutes 38-42: Stop and play with neighbourhood dogs ;) (aka BREAK TIME!)


He was VERY friendly. You don’t want to see what he did to the St. Bernard puppy that came by!


7) Minutes 43-45: Walking lunges up and down driveway for 2 minutes

8.) Minutes 46-51: Raking leaves for 5 minutes

9) Minutes 52-54: 3 sets of 50 calf raises performed off a step

10) Minutes 55-60: Cool-down: Bag up leaves or discard in woods/compost pile. Light walking. Stretch out legs and arms.

The hour FLEW by! It was fun too.


This workout left me feeling super energized and so refreshed! Yard work is most definitely a great workout.

I think it is important to realize that things like raking, shoveling snow, and other household duties like cleaning DO add up and they can work the body in new ways. My arms were quite sore from raking so I know they got a great workout. My legs also got in some challenging exercises which I haven’t done in ages. On Sunday and even today, my legs are still sore from the resistance exercises!

It is all about changing it up for me lately, and I think my body is feeling really challenged and new muscles are forming.

My plan for this week:

  • ABS: This week is going to focus on my abs again (i.e., side planks!!). I vow to get back to the ability level that I was at in the Summer Glow Boot Camp! Tight abs here we come!!!!!!!
  • YOGA: Also because my back has been feeling tense lately from all the baking, I am going to focus on doing this easy back workout every day this week.


Will you be raking leaves this fall or shoveling snow in the winter?

I have MANY memories (good and bad) of shoveling snow.

In fact, I have done it so much in my life, I consider myself to be an Expert Snow Remover. lol. I grew up in the Maritimes and boy did we get a lot of snow. It wasn’t uncommon for us to have snow banks well over my dad’s head. My family used to take ‘shifts’ shoveling snow all day long. Such a great workout, but you have to be careful not to hurt your back and bend at the knees when shoveling!

This winter, I will definitely be channeling my PSS (Project Snow Strength) and getting out there to shovel snow and get in a great workout at the same time! Gone are the days when I thought that a workout had to consist of a piece of equipment. :)


Time to work! Have a wonderful Moan-day ;)


If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin.
Ivan Turgenev

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Whitney @ Lettuce Love November 9, 2009 at 9:33 am

I am always sore after raking leaves or gardening. It is such a good workout and so productive!


nicolene November 10, 2009 at 5:12 am

it just shows you…you can grab every opportunity presented to you to get in some exercise!!!! There are just no excuses


Jessica @ How Sweet It Is November 9, 2009 at 9:35 am

This IS a great way to get a workout! Loved how you turned it into a mini bootcamp!! :)


Janine November 9, 2009 at 10:04 am

ooo puppies! I love puppies!!!

What a great idea. I need to do some yardwork. Actually with some music, it could turn into an awesome fun workout.


Lizzie November 9, 2009 at 10:09 am

People think I’m mad, but I love shovelling snow – it really is a great workout! Unfortunately we bought an apartment and they already have someone taking care of that (though I do get it off our steps to make it safer), and we got a covered parking spot for our car, so no need to shovel that out :( Hmm . . maybe I’ll be the shovel fair on our street!! :)


Lizzie November 9, 2009 at 10:09 am

That obviously should be FAIRY . . .


Ashley November 9, 2009 at 10:12 am

I already raked leaves on my lot. It’s covered by about 5 huge, mature Oak Trees. What a PITA they are too!

SO is cleaning the gutters this week. I’m afraid of ladders, so that job is all his.

I also shovel snow all winter too. Not a problem for me as I LOVE snow!


Courtney November 9, 2009 at 10:20 am

Oh baby…shoveling is a GREAT workout! My hubby works for UPS, so November-January I am a “UPS widow” and that means I have to shovel. The last thing I want him to have to do after hauling packages all day is come home and shovel. We moved into a house last year with a longer driveway and I look forward to the awesome workout I get!!

Great job on the yard work bootcamp…way to turn it into an awesome workout!

Adventures in Tri-ing


Jenny November 9, 2009 at 10:38 am

I usually need to shake up my morning work out routine in order to motivate me sometimes, and this morning I especially did not just feel like getting on the treadmill and going – it wouldn’t have lasted long. So I did your elliptical workout from the other day and seriously it was Awesome!! I definitely got in a great 50 minutes of cardio and was sweating which on an elliptical I can tend not to do if I just work at an easy pace. Thanks for the motivational workout tips!!


Paige @ Running Around Normal November 9, 2009 at 10:44 am

Definitely a great workout! Love that you turned it into a full body workout, too.
That dog is SO cute.


Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) November 9, 2009 at 10:56 am

Love that you turned yard work into a workout! I definitely need to do that more often.


Tay November 9, 2009 at 11:10 am

Great tips Angela – all so true! I try and walk/take the stairs whenever I can, and I’m always so surprised how lazy other people are. They can’t walk half a milk?! If I had snow to shovel or leaves to rake I would!!


Julie @savvyeats November 9, 2009 at 11:15 am

What a great idea! Like you, I am always super-busy, so multitasking like this is perfect — you get chores done, and get a workout in!


Kerri November 9, 2009 at 11:32 am

Such a positive spin on a chore that most people hate!

Another idea for bad backs (which I suffer from like crazy) is “rolling like a ball” — very popular in yoga and pilates alike. I do 5 rolls about 2 or 3 times a day and I really feel like it helps to massage out my spine…when I’m done sometimes I just lay and flat with my knees to the right or left and my hands extended. This also helps to get this loose and feeling good :)

-Kerri from Enzymatic Therapy


Diana November 9, 2009 at 11:35 am

I live in an apartment! So there’s really no need to do any of those things but I see that it is indeed a good workout! :)


Judy November 9, 2009 at 11:36 am

Oh yeah, we’ve been raking. We both grew up in the Northeast US, but have lived in TX for the past 17 years before moving to NY. So it’s been a really long time since I’ve raked. We bagged up 23 bags of leaves last weekend, and I’m going to be raking the backyard again later today.

I’m sure I’ll be shoveling, too. It’s been even longer since I shoveled than raked! My husband bought a snow blower, but those things scare me, so I’m sure I’ll be shoveling. At least the front steps!


Cynthia (It All Changes) November 9, 2009 at 11:51 am

Shoveling snow is a great workout. But alas I can’t do it because of my back injury. But I do bring Hunni hot chocolate while he does it and runs the snow blower.

My best winter workout is walking the dogs. They have to go out anyway and so we bundle them up and go for a walk.


megan November 9, 2009 at 11:54 am

I shovel snow during the winter, but I’m not a huge fan. The first few times I enjoy it and I view it as a great workout, but then as winter wears on and I have to shovel at 6:30 in the morning before leaving for work, and then park in the street when I get home until I can shovel our driveway out… loses its appeal


Tracey @ TropicalHappiness November 9, 2009 at 12:08 pm

Way to turn yard work into a fun workout!


Jil November 9, 2009 at 12:36 pm

OH yes, raking and shoveling snow. haha This year, living in a city I haven’t had to do them, but I love your idea to mix up working the legs with the arm work that raking provides (plus the minute of lunges is prob a nice break for the arms!). You’re always thinkin’, Angela! :)


Small Town Runner November 9, 2009 at 12:53 pm

I raked leaves this weekend, too, and I love shoveling snow in the winter.


Chrysta November 9, 2009 at 1:02 pm

What an awesome idea! I would love to do this if I could. Unfortunently I live in L.A and well…no yard=) anywhere…or grass…but its ok. I grew up in PA and i used to hate it when my parents would make me shovel snow, but now I miss it! Funny how that happens. Keep on rockin!


Lauren November 9, 2009 at 1:46 pm

What an absolutely great way to get exercise in!


Lindsay November 9, 2009 at 2:04 pm

What a great way to get a workout in!

I probably won’t be raking leaves or shoveling snow this year but I’ve done it a ton in the past! My arms are always so sore afterwards!


Organic Ashley November 9, 2009 at 2:08 pm

I live in Southern California so we don’t get much of either. But I share an apartment with three girls and the kitchen gets really messy and I end up deep cleaning it every weekend. I should do a KITCHEN WORKOUT. Maybe throw in some jumping jacks when doing dishes and pushups when I’m scrubbing the floors! Could be a post on my blog soon. :)


Kelly November 9, 2009 at 2:17 pm

I get sore from shoveling snow, definitely! I like how you mixed in some leg work outs to really make it even more of a serious work out. So fun to change things up and much better for your muscles too!


Nikki T November 9, 2009 at 2:17 pm

I totally agree that yard work/house work can be a great workout! I cleaned my house for 4 hours on Saturday (after some repairs were done to our kitchen)…not my idea of fun, but I definately worked up a bit of a sweat!
In the late summer/early fall we got some gravel delivered in order to make our driveway less muddy/bumpy…I raked and raked…and boy were my arms and abs sore the next day!!
I like that you added some extra moves to make it a total body workout!


Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope November 9, 2009 at 2:18 pm

That looks like so much fun Angela! The weather was just gorgeous here in Wisconsin this weekend, and I took 100 percent advantage of it with a few lovely walks. Love you got yardwork done AND fit in an excellent workout!



Valerie November 9, 2009 at 2:24 pm

I didn’t rake any leaves this year but I’m going to be shoveling snow this winter. I’m used to it though – growing up in central-northern Ontario we always got crazy amounts of snow off Georgian Bay. Now living in southern Ontario, the amount of snow is far more manageable (to me at least). That doesn’t mean I necessarily like to shovel snow though :P

Outdoor work is such a good workout! In the winter, if I’ve had to shovel snow outside for a half hour or so, I’ll often count that as my workout for the day since it does get my heart rate up and my muscles working.


alex November 9, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Ange- I think you can make ANYTHING fun. I almost wish I had leaves to rake now. Almost….


Britt - Runnerbelle November 9, 2009 at 2:39 pm

I was out raking too this past weekend! We loaded up 3 truck loads and brought them to recycling. It was quite the workout raking them and then loading them into the truck. It was gorgeous out though, so it was ok. I also remembered to plant some bulbs to bloom in the spring!


Liz November 9, 2009 at 2:42 pm

Great way to sneak in a workout…and you got important stuff done. Double whammy! I checked out your link of your abs from your summer boot camp…you were ripped!! I’ll be right there with you focusing on those ab exercises, I have been neglecting them.


Melinda November 9, 2009 at 2:55 pm

Nice use of your time! Certainly a good work out. I don’t think there will be many leaves here for me to rake, but with the feilds around I have had to rake up the grass after it is cut. That is a major work out. And no snow here so no shoveling, which is nice. Looks like it was good weather for your weekend.


Kate November 9, 2009 at 3:18 pm

Your workout looked fun and what gorgeous weather! We had similar weather down here in Columbus, OH and much of the weekend was spent outdoors also! :)

I will most likely be shoveling my parents driveway this winter. They live 4 miles away from me and I try to get over every so often in the winter to help them out. They both work such long hours and have so many things going on in the evenings I feel it’s the least I can do! And I’m always sweating at the end of it needing a hot bath and massage pronto! :)


Allison (Eat Clean Live Green) November 9, 2009 at 3:27 pm

I used to hate snow shovelling, but last winter I realized it was a great workout! Can’t wait (well, kind of) for a big snowfall!


Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty November 9, 2009 at 3:29 pm

This has nothing to do with this post BUT…
I just tried your homemade soy yougert and it was AMAZING!!!!!
I even tried some while it was warm and it was so good, one of my favorite dairy free recipes so far!! THANKS FOR SHARING..

ps. if you are looking for it go to the recipe tab… or come check out my blog, I am about to rave about it!! :)


GirlonRaw November 9, 2009 at 4:34 pm

Such a great idea. I love incidental exercise and I need to mix things up myself to keep things interesting and also challenge my body in new ways. Your yard looks massive!!! Jealous :)


rebecca lustig November 9, 2009 at 4:44 pm

This post was awesome. I’m all about sneaky workouts– They’re more fun, I put less pressure on myself and it changes things up!

I did yard work on Saturday with my dad and found I exerted quite a bit of energy! I’ve found theres a skill to raking. It’s all about the motion between your back, arms and legs! hehe

Have a wonderful day lovely lady


Kristy November 9, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Yard work is definitely a hard workout! It is nice to change the pace of things though so you aren’t always running or hitting the gym.


Allison November 9, 2009 at 5:26 pm

I wish i had a real backyard and could do yard work like that. You made it into a very good workout!
I kicked butt at the gym today though, so im still feeling the burn haha


Kasey (Fit For Wellness) November 9, 2009 at 7:10 pm

What a great workout… I wish I had a yard! I definitely get a good workout when I clean the condo :)


Vanessa @ Chic and Charming November 9, 2009 at 8:08 pm

I loooooove how creative you can be! I believe doing odd tasks around the house are excellent forms of cardio and strength.

I will be doing this Boot Camp plan this week. :)


Jolene November 9, 2009 at 8:25 pm

My hubby did all the leaf raking, and he usually shovels the snow – but I might help out for the exercise :-)


Morgan @ Life After Bagels November 9, 2009 at 9:57 pm

Hmmm . . . easy for you since it was nice out this weekend!


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