by Jessica Toomer
The weather outside might be chilly, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck indoors for your workout routine. In fact, exercising in colder weather is a good way to build endurance and burn calories. Of course, as with any workout, it’s important to dress appropriately, stay hydrated, listen to your body and consult with your doctor. But if you’re ready to get outside, here are a few amazing winter workout ideas.
This might not be the most fun activity on this list, but it’s certainly the most practical. If you live in an area that receives a large amount of snowfall each winter, there’s really no reason to hit the weights at the gym. Shoveling snow can burn hundreds of calories and is an excellent upper-body workout. If you suffer from back issues, be careful about how much weight you’re lifting and try correcting your posture. Widening your stance, bending at the knees and keeping your back flat will help take the stress off your lower back.
This is a two-birds-one-stone kind of workout. Shopping, believe it or not, is a great form of cardio and, depending on how much you buy, weight training. But even if you’re not crossing off items on your to-buy list, you can still use your local mall as a makeshift gym by simply walking through it. Most malls are miles in length and filled with stores, so walking the entire length of one several times is the perfect way to get your steps in. Plus, whenever you need a break, you can grab a bench and entertain yourself with a little people-watching.
Another practical winter chore that burns calories is chopping firewood. Now of course, only attempt this if you’re able to and know how to safely work an ax. The act of chopping wood is perfect for building upper body strength and toning your arms. It’s also a great core stabilizer and builds your back muscles. If actually chopping the wood is too strenuous, try stacking the wood blocks once they’re chopped, or picking up sticks and limbs that might be littering your yard.
Another family-friendly winter activity that, surprisingly enough, helps shed the pounds is a good old-fashioned snowball fight. You work your upper body by throwing the snowballs and get some good cardio in by trying to dodge them. The best part? You won’t even realize you’re working out because you’ll be having so much fun tapping into your inner child.
Want to work out like an Olympian? If skiing or snowboarding is too much, try your hand at curling, a popular sport in the Winter Olympics. It’s best described as shuffleboard on ice. Players slide smooth stones across the ice towards a target area, while other players manipulate the stone’s path by sweeping it towards the end zone. It’s fun, low-intensity, and if you have a rink nearby, there’s a good chance you’ll find a curling league looking for new members.
You probably go ice skating with the family as soon as the cold weather sets in, but did you know that it’s also an excellent workout you can incorporate into your daily routine during the winter months? Ice skating is a great lower-body workout as it forces us to keep our balance on an unstable surface, working our core muscles and strengthening our calves. It’s also a great cardio workout that will strengthen your heart and lungs. If you’re not a skilled skater, or if you’re worried about falling, see if your local rink has trainers you can use while you break a sweat.
Snowshoeing is one of the easiest winter-time workouts for those who enjoy daily walks but are worried the cold weather will keep them indoors. All you need is a pair of snowshoes and some adjustable poles to start trekking the winter wonderland in your backyard. Snowshoes help balance out your weight so you can stay above the powder while the poles help with balance. It’s a fun, adventurous exercise that’ll let you explore the outdoors.
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