Although wintertime is not everyone’s favorite weather time of year, the cold season offers a lot of healthy goodness. In fact, according to University of Scranton science professor, Dr. Ronald W. Deitrick, putting large muscle groups to work outside in the cold will torch more calories than in warmer temps. Dr. Deitrick explains in a press release, “Your body has to work harder just to generate heat when you’re out in the cold. So exercising during the cold winter months can be more effective in burning calories than working out at the gym or in your home.”
So bundle up and get winter-ready, because we’re here to suggest five fun winter activities and snow sports to lose weight without trying. Your winter weight loss game just got a major upgrade.
There are a few things to check off your prep list for this good old-fashioned seasonal fun.
There are quite a lot of activities you can enjoy with your significant other, kids, grandkids, or just by yourself that you’d never expect can keep you in shape. Grabbing the family to go sledding down a big hill or getting crafty while building a snow fort are calorie burners—and good old-fashioned seasonal fun! Not only will it be a great time to be outdoors, but these winter activities can prevent a depressed feeling known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) from being indoors too long, according to the University of New Hampshire. Being in the good old fresh air and sunshine provides a wealth of amazing benefits.
Before you head out, though, there are a few things to check off your prep list. Before taking on any new, intense physical activity, it’s always wise to speak with your healthcare professional to make sure your body is up for it. In addition, according to Harvard Health Publishing, it’s important that you keep your extremities covered in cold temps, stay hydrated, and protect your skin with sunscreen. Also, don’t forget to protect your lips with a solid lip balm; some of them include sunscreen! Now that you’re ready, let’s learn how to enjoy snow much healthy outdoor fitness.
Skiing is an invigorating winter activity that gets your whole body moving.
According to the University of New Hampshire, skiing is what’s referred to as a “proprioceptive” activity that activates your entire body. This means skiing allows you to actually feel the action of each part of your body as you move it. The activity requires and builds coordination, balance, strength, and your ability to sense your body parts as they move, aka proprioception.
This picture-worthy playtime will strengthen your bones and knees, too, because skiing is a great leg workout and provides some serious cardio, according to Pure Michigan.
Are you ready to learn the calorie burn you can achieve from downhill skiing? You can torch around 354 calories each hour! And if you’re interested in some cross-country skiing, that can torch around 472 calories every hour, Pure Michigan reports.
Snowshoeing will be your new favorite high-calorie blaster.
Why would you want to spend time inside the gym on an elliptical or treadmill when you can be outside, catching up with friends, submersed in beautiful nature? Did we mention that you can burn around 472 calories each hour that you snowshoe? In fact, you can even burn away more calories than mountain biking or running, based on how fast you go and the trails you choose, according to Intermountain Healthcare. An example? If you choose a hilly trail and move at three miles per hour, you can burn anywhere from an estimated 774 to 1,000+ calories.
The healthy benefit of snowshoeing is the snowy, cushiony surface puts it in a low-impact category. That means that anybody who likes to walk will love snowshoeing. You can, of course, head to a ski resort for a day’s activity. But you can also head outside after a snowfall in your own backyard or a local park or trail. All you need is a pair of good boots, the appropriate socks, snowshoes, and poles. Then, you’re ready to head for the hills!
Shoveling snow is a serious cardio and full-body workout.
Okay, shoveling snow may sound like a lot of work. But getting outdoors with the family with some fun tunes cranked up can be fun—and save you money!
Before you start shaking your head and saying, “No way,” know that you will torch quite a few calories in a short time. Just how many? According to HealthResearchFunding.org, if you weigh 150 pounds, you can burn around 34 calories during five minutes of shoveling, 69 calories within 10 minutes, 138 calories in 20 minutes, 206 calories within 30 minutes, and 413 calories within 60 minutes of shoveling time. If you weigh 200 pounds, you can torch away about 184 calories for 20 minutes of shoveling snow and 552 calories for a full hour.
You’d never believe that making snow angels and having a snowball fight can be a solid workout.
Next up on our list of winter weight loss activities, consider starting a snowball fight, or jumping in the snow to make some snow angels! Believe it or not, ½ hour of making some snow angels can pay off in burning an estimated 107 calories, according to Outdoor Troop. And a good old-fashioned snowball fight? Well, you can plan on torching around 160 calories by tossing snowballs at your loved ones for ½ hour.
Ice skating burns more calories than you’d think.
If you love the idea of a fun, invigorating, and even romantic wintertime experience, grab a pair of ice skates! New England Baptist Hospital describes ice skating as a way to exercise just about all of your major muscle groups, most especially your lower body and abdominals. It strengthens stability and balance, without causing too much stress on your joints. That doesn’t mean you can’t make it a high-impact workout by adding some jumps and impressive moves, though.
The sport is an anaerobic activity since there are short bouts of intensity involved. It’s also an excellent stress reliever! Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that ice skating can torch around 419 calories each hour, according to Pure Michigan.
Didn’t we tell you it’s pretty effortless to lose weight while having a blast this winter?