With cold weather upon us and winter rapidly approaching, the desire to stay inside and sip hot chocolate often outweighs the desire to head outside and exercise. However, the change in climate actually brings about some unique, seasonal exercise opportunities.
Downhill skiing is great for both cardiovascular and strength workouts. The average ski run lasts roughly two or three minutes, and the average person can burn from 360 – 500 calories per hour of skiing. Skiing is also a great way to develop lower body strength — when you ski you work your lower body muscle groups: hamstrings, quadriceps, hip, calf, and feet muscles. You also work your abdominal muscles when maintaining your balance, and your arms even get a little bit of a workout when you use the ski poles for stability and control.
Just like skiing, snowboarding can also aid your cardiovascular and muscular development. You burn, on average, around 450 calories per hour, and you also work your calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps. The major difference? Snowboarding offers a superior abdominal workout to skiing. Because snowboarding does not include the use of ski poles, snowboarders rely primarily on their stomach muscles for balance.
Have a favorite biking or running trail that gets covered with snow during the winter? You can still enjoy it — just strap on some snowshoes and go exploring. Snowshoeing actually burns more calories than running because you lift your legs higher in order to move forward. Also, because snowshoeing is performed in cold weather, your body is already burning more calories just to keep you warm. The sport is an approved aerobic activity by the American Heart Association, and in an hour of snowshoeing you burn between 400 and 900 calories. Additionally, snowshoeing works your hamstrings, quadriceps, calf, and feet muscles, and it can even provide an upper body workout for your back, shoulders, and arms if you choose to use poles.
The best part about these methods of winter exercise? They are all fun, meaning you get the health benefits of the activities without even feeling like you’re working out. So get outside, enjoy yourself, and don’t let low temperatures compromise your fitness goals!
By Gabe Sansone