If you live in the Northeast, you get pelted with snow this weekend are about to get pelted with snow again inside of 24 hours from now. Chances are also that you spent a fair amount of time shoveling snow this past weekend. The inevitable by-product of a snowy weekend is everyone talking on Monday at work about how much snow they got and how much time they spent outside clearing their driveways/sidewalks and how much it sucks, etc. And it is never long before that nails-on-a-chalkboard phrase comes out, "but at least it's good exercise!"
Let's make this clear. Shoveling snow is not good exercise. Yes, you get your heart pumping a bit and burn a very good deal of calories, but that does not make it good exercise. Soreness is good; waking up feeling like your back is broken is not good. A half hour on a stairmaster or elliptical that leaves you sweat-soaked? That's good exercise. Benching 100 lbs more than your weight for multiple reps? That's good exercise. The only people who consider shoveling to be "good exercise" are those who don't exercise to begin with, so for them just getting off the couch is a monumental accomplishment.
I laugh when people treat the smallest amount of physical activity as a.) an absolution from further physical activity in the near future, and b.) an excuse to go apeshit with the junk food. How many people would you bet said this weekend, "Oh, it's ok, I spent an hour shoveling snow, I can have 9 slices of pizza during the Super Bowl. And I was going to get back to the gym this week, but since I'm so sore I'll just push that to next week."
These are the same people who consider it okay to get that cheesecake after lunch because they parked 100 feet away from the restaurant as opposed to 50 feet away - "yeah, it's fine, I'll walk it off going back out to the car." Mmm-hmm. You go and tell yourself that. The truth is you'd have to walk at a breakneck pace for about 40 minutes to burn off a small slice of cheesecake. But I guess we can let that one slide - after all, it's going to snow again soon, so you'll get some more good exercise on Wednesday!