No doubt about it, it can be harder to motivate yourself to work out when the weather outside turns frightful. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still make it happen.
In fact, some common wintertime activities actually go a long way to burn calories, strengthen muscles and improve cardiovascular health. Here are just four of many that will help you stay fit this winter — without even knowing it.
1. Winter walking — No matter the weather, walking is always a great option for burning some calories and keeping fit. A 155-pound person walking at a 3.5 MPH pace goes through about 150 calories every 30 minutes. Up the pace by a half mile per hour and you’ll burn 170 calories in a half hour. Trudging through snow will beef up your walk as well. If you’re a little more committed, strap on the snowshoes and hit a nice winter trail. Snowshoeing kicks up your cardio and melts through about 300 calories in 30 minutes.
2. Shoveling snow — Sure, it might be easier to roll out the snow blower to clear your driveway when the snow falls, but you’ll get a better workout if go old-school and grab a shovel. Not only can you burn more than 200 calories in just 30 minutes, according to Harvard Medical School, but you’ll also work all kinds of muscles, from your legs and core to the arms and shoulders. Just make sure to keep your knees bent when lifting a loaded shovel to avoid straining your back. If you do decide to use the snow blower, don’t worry. You’ll still burn around 150 calories over 30 minutes, but won’t get quite the muscle workout.
3. Ice skating — Hitting the local ice rink can be a fun family outing in the winter. It can provide a workout, too. Thirty minutes of skating can burn between 200 and 300 calories depending on your weight. It’s great for improving balance and coordination, low impact — assuming you stay on your feet — and it helps stretch and tone leg muscles while offering up a cardio punch. Here are great rinks in Seattle and Portland.
4. Downhill skiing — Riding up a chairlift and breezing your way down a snowy slope in the Cascades might not seem like a huge calorie burner, but it is. A 155-pound person burns about 450 calories per hour while downhill skiing, while toning leg muscles, strengthening the core, improving balance and, most importantly, having fun. Want to burn away even more? Switch to cross-country skiing, which burns about 600 calories an hour for a 155-pound person.