It may be cold outside, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors this winter. These family-friendly outdoor fitness activities will help you stay fit — and have fun — all season long.
If you’re looking for the winter fitness activity that will give you the best workout, skiing is probably it. Skiing is both an aerobic exercise that will help you burn a lot of calories and a muscle-building exercise (particularly the hamstrings, inner and outer thighs, quads, glutes, and hamstrings), since you are forced to maintain a squat position constantly. This activity is particularly beneficial for seniors, as it improves proprioception, balance, and core strength, thus reducing fall risk, and strengthens lower-body bones and joints, preventing osteoporosis and related damage.
Snowshoeing is an excellent alternative for those who want to traverse the pristine snow, but prefer to stay off of skis — especially since it’s a lot less expensive. Snowshoeing is as low-impact an activity as walking, yet burns twice as many calories because of the resistance of moving through the snow. Plus, you can make it as challenging as you want: For an easier workout, walk on flat, packed terrain; for something more intense, hike up a more powdery, hilly area.
You may not think you’re exercising when you hit the ice skating rink, but this activity definitely counts as a workout. While you glide around on your skates, you’re getting in some great cardio, increasing your endurance, improving your balance, boosting your joint flexibility, and building your leg muscles. In fact, you work almost every major muscle group in your body while ice skating. Plus, the fun and fresh air that skating provides will help you relax and relieve stress, which can be especially necessary around the holidays.
Although you can do any of these activities with your grandkids, they’ll probably be upset with you if you don’t include them in this one. Sledding is a fun activity that the whole family will enjoy, and one that will get your heart pumping as you pull the sled back up the hill time and time again (this isn’t a one-and-done kind of activity). These uphill hikes are what make sledding such a good workout, burning more than 450 calories an hour.
Playing in the Snow
Snow enchants people of all ages, and you’re never too old to have fun with it, especially if you have grandkids to accompany you. Don your winter gear and show your grandkids the right way to build a snowman, or even a fort. Make snow angels, start a snowball fight, or just stomp around. Whatever you choose, the moderate aerobic activity will get you moving and your blood flowing, and keep you warm on these cold winter days!