Take Your Workout Outdoors With These Winter Sports

by Charlene Flanagan

A cold, snowy day is ideal for cuddling up in your jammies with a mug of hot chocolate, as you hold your favorite book, or catch up on some reality TV (#guilty). But, the flipside is that the winter blanket can prove to be the perfect playground; one you'll waste by being cooped up indoors all day. Save the nighttime for all your lazing around, and hit the slopes in the afternoon because, as we've told you before, a winter workout is better than any other for reasons aplenty!

Let's Suit Up!
We recommend you suit up in appropriate winter gear before heading out to minimize risk of injury, keep you from freezing, and protect your skin against the snow. Here's a checklist:

  • Snow Goggles
  • Hard helmet hat
  • Gloves
  • Protective gear like knee pads and wrist guards
  • Snowshoes/boots with good traction/treads
  • Moisturizer + sunscreen
  • Thermal wear

We Love: Ice Skating
For a lot of people, taking up a sport might seem too intense. This is why ice skating is the perfect solution. It’s a low-impact workout. This basically means it’s easy on the joints. But one of the biggest benefits of ice skating is the fact that it’s an ideal core workout that improves your balance and coordination. Also, it engages the smaller stabilizer muscles in your body, the ones that don’t usually get a workout, which in turn prove beneficial when you ski, run or do yoga. This fun everyday winter activity can burn up to 387 calories per hour, and if you skate faster, it can go up to 633 calories. What more can you ask for, right?

We Love: Cross-Country Skiing
If you're up to the challenge, we suggest you give those slopes a break and take up cross-country skiing instead. Why? Well, it’s simple. It’s an intense cardio and full-body workout that not only burns calories but builds muscle, too! It is one of the most demanding cardio activities that will burn that flab into oblivion by torching over 700 calories in an hour. The biggest benefit? Cross-country skiing is a great cardiovascular activity that gets your heart rate revving into the sweet spot between aerobic and anaerobic zones, which is the performance zone for fat burn.

We Love: Snowshoeing
Okay, right off the bat, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing might seem like they’re identical sports to take up, but in fact, there is a distinction. With cross-country skiing, you glide across the snow. With snowshoeing, you have to walk. So, what does this mean for a workout? Well, snowshoeing is a lot harder, but then, it builds strength and endurance, improves agility, and gives you a better sense of balance. Now, snowshoeing utilizes major muscle groups which, when combined with a higher metabolic rate in cold weather and the added resistance of moving through snow, results in a high-energy activity. This means that you can burn between 400-1000 calories per hour. This, of course, depends on the terrain and speed at which you snowshoe.

We Love: Snowboarding
Okay, you don’t have to be a pro to enjoy the fitness benefits of this winter sport. You could fall on your ass as much as you want to. Just make sure to get back up and get a move on. Snowboarding is a great cardiovascular workout. You burn 450 calories an hour while you work your quads, hamstrings, and calves when you use the snowboard, and your shoulders and arms to pick yourself up, each time you fall. As you get more skilled, you can take on steeper and more challenging terrains which just means more muscle building in the legs and the abdomen (core) area.

We Love: Sledding
You may workout on the regular but your anaerobic tolerance might not be top notch. Did you know sledding is one way to change that? Who’d have thought that a simple, fun winter activity that you mostly do with your family can help you burn 346 cals (on average) in an hour?  Besides, sledding is a simple way to address hamstring and glute weakness, and can also help all those suffering from poor posture.

Now, we  may have focused on the calorie burn and muscle power of these winter sports, but let's face it, you don't need anyone to remind you that it's all fun and games. Don't look at recreational activities as a workout; they're not tedious or boring, they're just plain awesome!

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