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Simple Activities to Help You Stay Fit This Winter

By Justin O'Neill
January 11, 2010
File under: Eco-Friendly Activities, Fitness, Goals


While it’s freezing outside, don’t freeze your workout routine.  Staying active in the winter can be a feat of willpower when it is tempting to hibernate.  Here are a few suggestions to keep your heart pumping and muscles flexing despite the ice and snow.

In addition to helping you stay healthy, the following ideas are also eco-friendly—in many cases reducing oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.  Be inspired, change your routine, find something you enjoy, and get your family involved.  Don’t let the cold get you down.

shovel-snow.jpgClearing the driveway after a heavy snow is a familiar winter chore.  If you’ve got the time and energy, have your driveway do some work for you by keeping that gas-guzzling snow blower in the garage and shoveling instead.  Even after a downfall of just a few inches, shoveling the driveway is a true cardio exercise—and you’ll have the automatic incentive of being able to get out of the house.

Approximate calories burned in thirty minutes: 245

walk.jpgOut of eggs?  Need another carton of milk?  Make an effort this winter to do small errands locally and walk to the store when you can.  Walking briskly short distances goes a long way in keeping you in shape and reducing gas consumption.  Continue once you’ve reached your destination—even purposeful walking around an indoor mall can work up a sweat.  Try alternating between a faster walk and your normal pace as you shop.

Approximate calories burned in thirty minutes: 176

swim.jpgJust because it’s not summer doesn’t mean you can’t swim.  Take the kids to the local YMCA pool for a change of pace in the winter doldrums.  Practice your strokes, do a few laps, and take some time to relax and play around in the water.  It’s a sure way to warm up in the winter chill.

Approximate calories burned in thirty minutes: 320

hike.jpgDon’t let the temperature keep you from the great outdoors.  Bundle up and go for a hike.  Many nature preserves and local parks stay open in winter and can provide a fun weekend outing for the family.  Beaches usually offer free admission in the off-season and are another great place for a hike with pretty views—plus the resistance of the sand adds to the challenge of your hike.

Approximate calories burned in thirty minutes: 240

play.jpgEmbrace the winter (and your inner child) and play in the snow.  Try building a snowman or snow fort, having a snowball fight, making snow angels, or finding a big hill and going sledding.  Once you get moving and laughing you’ll barely notice the temperature.

Approximate calories burned in thirty minutes: 219

ice-skating.jpgIce-skating is an excellent winter activity that is fun for the whole family.  Local ice rinks are plentiful, and rates for admission and skate rental are reasonable.  It’s a good, active alternative to something stationary like seeing a movie.  You and your kids will hardly notice that it is exercise—until you feel the satisfying soreness of your muscles the next day.

Approximate calories burned in thirty minutes: 202

game.jpgStaying fit in this day and age can be as fun and easy as playing video games.  Wii Fit and Wii Sports are great options for families looking for an entertaining way to stay healthy and stay indoors.  It’s a good strategy for getting the kids involved and teaching them to care about physical fitness.  The virtual simulations of many popular sports will have you moving almost as much as the real thing.

Approximate calories burned in thirty minutes: 141

stretch.jpgMaybe it’s finally time to take up yoga, or Pilates, or dancing.  And save a car trip. There are plenty of exercise routines you can take advantage of in the warmth and comfort of your own home.  Besides being good exercise, yoga provides a meditative break from a busy day.  Pilates builds up your core and strengthens your abs.  Instructional DVDs can make learning what to do as easy as pressing “Play.”

Approximate calories burned in thirty minutes:
Pilates: 204
Yoga: 233
Dancing:  240

sports.jpgWhat’s a better way to get moving during the winter than to hit the slopes?  Skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing are a few of the most popular ways of getting active during the cold months. These intense winter workouts will leave you feeling the burn throughout your entire body.

Approximate calories burned in thirty minutes:
Skiing (downhill): 352
Skiing (cross-country): 459
Snowshoeing: 404

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