Get outside and get moving with these outdoor wintertime workouts.
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 balance, proprioception, and core strength, thus reducing fall risk, and strengthens lower-body bones and joints, preventing osteoporosis and related damage.
[Related: Skiing for Older Adults]
Snowboarding offers the same great health benefits as skiing, so part of your choice is just seeing which sport you enjoy more. However, snowboarding is less expensive than skiing for both purchasing and renting.
Snowboarding is also much easier on the knees than skiing, since having both your legs strapped into the same board prevents them from twisting. For this reason, snowboarding is the better choice for anyone with a history of knee injuries.
If you’ve never snowboarded before, we recommend taking a lesson to get you over that beginner’s hump. Once you’ve began, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can pick this up!
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.
Learning to read maps and navigate by compass is not only a valuable backcountry skill — it’s fun, too! This is what orienteering is all about, plus the added thrill of having to pass through different checkpoints before the other participants.
One of the best things about orienteering is that you can adapt it for walking, running, biking, skiing, or whatever else you can think of. Orienteering USA-sanctioned events take place all over the country, but you can also gather a group of friends and host an event of your own.
[Related: Motivation for Exercising in Bad Weather]
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.
There is no better reason to make that lovely rich thermos of hot chocolate and enjoy the crisp, winter weather than ice fishing. Combine this with winter hiking or snowshoeing and you have some cardio to go with that yummy fish dinner later!
Dig in! Shoveling snow is one of the best calorie burning activities you can do, and allows you to complete a chore and your workout at the same time.
An average 145-pound female aged 55 burns 278 calories per hour while shovelling snow, and the metabolic rate after you are done continues for the rest of the day.
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!
What’s your favorite wintertime workout?
Featured image via Pixabay