It’s no secret – we tend to gain weight over the winter season. We eat like crazy over the holidays and the cold temperatures make it utterly unappealing to do anything that raises our heart rate past a snail’s pace. In order to stay active during the winter season, you need to find an activity that you’ll ENJOY doing.
We often underestimate the calorie-burning potential of winter activities. Here are five things you can do to help you stay active this winter.
Racing down a snowy hill on nothing but two pieces of plastic sounds pretty crazy, but it can be one of the most exhilarating feelings in the world. If you’re looking for a winter activity to take up, don’t underestimate the power of downhill skiing (or snowboarding). It will help you build great leg strength, balance and overall coordination. You’ll also build incredible core strength as you weave down the mountain. Skiing/snowboarding is also a social event. You probably already have a few friends who are into it. Just remember to bundle up.
Calories Burned: ~600 calories/hour
You probably have an old pair of skates in the basement or garage somewhere. Go grab them and sharpen them. If you don’t, they’re cheap so get yourself a pair. Skating is an activity for all age groups. Skating rinks can be found anywhere and are free to use. The more vigorous your skating is (i.e. leisure vs. ice hockey) the more your legs have to work and the more calories you will burn. Skating is a great overall cardiovascular workout so there really is no excuse not to try it.
Calories Burned: ~350 calories/hour
Although you may think this is something your kids would only do, don’t underestimate the ridiculous calorie-burning potential of sledding or toboganning. More often than not, the incredible rush you get from speeding down the hill masks the utterly demanding task of climbing back up that hill – on foot. But this is what makes the activity so effective. Your legs get an incredible workout as you trot your way up that hill for one more sleigh ride down. Take your kids with you and see how you feel after a few runs. Remember, the steeper the hill, the better the ride, and the better the workout.
Calories Burned: ~420 calories/hour
I know you’re probably thinking “it’s too cold for that” and on some days you’re probably right. But the winter season has us couped indoors so much that we forget how nice it feels to take in some cool, fresh air. Walking is a great social activity. You can do it with your friends or your family members, or your can go alone to clear your thoughts. Many studies have shown that walking regularly reduces your risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other killer diseases.
Calories Burned: ~180
If you’re debating whether to get that snowblower, here’s a hint – DON’T. Shoveling snow may be a tedious task, but that’s only if you see it as one. If you look at the positive side and you see that shoveling snow may be a great workout for your arms, upper and lower back, shoulders and core, then you’ll be looking forward to the next snowstorm. Just remember to use an ergonomic shovel and good technique to lower the risk of injuries.
Calories Burned: ~380
All in all, there are plenty of ways to stay active this winter season. Don’t let this winter be another hibernation session where you pack on 15 pounds. Find the activity that you enjoy the most and get out there and enjoy the snow!