Staying active is an essential part of any diet. And while it is tempting to hunker down on the sofa and get your chill on this winter, colder temps don’t mean you have to stay indoors to workout, or forgo exercise altogether. So channel your inner winter Olympic athlete, bundle up, and head outside to enjoy these six winter activities to get you moving and help you lose weight.
1. Ice Skating
Whether it’s a pickup hockey game or laps around the rink, skating is a wonderful way of staying fit this winter and can be enjoyed with friends and family. A 150-lb woman ice skating for one hour can burn nearly 400 calories. If you skate regularly, you can build muscle tone, particularly in your hamstrings and quadriceps. It’s also a great workout for building endurance and enhancing your balance, no sparkly costume required (but definitely encouraged).
2. Cross-Country Skiing
Also referred to as Nordic skiing, cross-country skiing is a fun winter fitness activity that works out nearly every major muscle group. Your leg muscles and abdominal core keep you moving and balanced, but your shoulders and triceps (along with the poles) propel you forward. If you are new to cross-country skiing, start slowly and work on mastering the proper form before building up speed and endurance. Cross-country skiing at a moderate intensity torches about 550 calories per hour in a 150-lb person.
3. Downhill Skiing
Another great way of staying fit this winter is downhill skiing. It is both an aerobic and anaerobic exercise that engages five major muscle groups: the core, the foot-and-ankle group, the lower leg, knee flexors and extensors, and the gluteal muscle. A 150-lb person burns about 400 calories during an hour of downhill skiing at moderate intensity. If you’re skilled enough at the sport, hit the moguls for even more of a workout.
Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme! Although it’s not quite bobsledding, and careening down a hill does not quite count as exercise, you can zap some major calories while trudging back up the hill with the sled, especially with a kid or two onboard. A 150-lb person can burn 400 calories during an hour of sledding. Bonus points for walking to the sled hill from your house.
Although curling is easy to learn, this unique sport is not as leisurely as it appears. An hour of curling can burn 270 calories and requires serious flexibility and mental focus. The game also works your shoulders, back, core, and legs. Time to hit your local curling club and get sweeping.
6. Shoveling Snow
Not an Olympic sport, but it can sometimes feel like it! Shoveling your driveway will feel like less of a chore if you focus on its calorie-burning benefits! Thirty minutes of shoveling burns about 200 calories and works your arm, back, and core muscles. Be sure to stretch before you begin to prevent injury and practice proper shoveling form: bend your knees and lift with your legs. Warm up with a cup of low carb, Atkins-approved Hot Chocolate when you’re done!