There are so many beautiful aspects of winter, with freshly fallen snow, cute warm scarves, and fresh baked holiday treats. This is the time of year, however, where “workouts” become less of a priority. Excuses are as unlimited as the egg nog; there isn’t enough daylight to workout outdoors, it is too cold to get a sweat on, or there just isn’t enough time.
Between the excuses and the extra helpings of holiday meals, we pack on 2-4 extra pounds during the season. Want this year to be different? Here are some outdoor activity alternatives to the ordinary workout.
1. Downhill Snowboarding and Skiing
One of the most popular outdoor activities during winter is also one of the best calorie burners. To boot, it is also a great way to meet up with friends and relatives, so after opening presents or before the big holiday feast, encourage a get-together on the slopes. Though the price can be hefty for some, look for special discount tickets and borrow whatever gear you can to reduce costs. One continuous hour of boarding or skiing (not counting lift time) can burn between 320-370 calories. Don’t know how? Your local ski hill has trained and certified professional instructors waiting to make their passion your passion. Track your time on the hill with phone apps like Ski Tracks to calculate how much burn you’ve earned.
At much less the cost of going to a ski resort is sledding. Equipment needed is simply warm, rough clothing (preferably specifically snow pants and jacket with warm gloves) and a sled, which are often made of foam or plastic. What’s best about this activity is that it becomes less of a workout and more of a family bonding day. A continuous hour of running up the hill and navigating back down can burn about 400 calories for a 130-pound woman. The added mental health benefit is that this feels like play, which for adults is still an important stress reliever and energy booster.
3. Ice Skating
Another shot at socializing is ice skating. Ask your friends to meet for a couple holiday skate sessions at the local pond or ice rink. Make it more of a party and turn the skate date into an Ugly Sweater ice skating party. An average woman will burn about 430 calories per hour of continuous and moderate skating. This is a great way to burn of stresses, calories, and laugh for a while, too. But don’t throw away all the hard work by downing full-fat high sugar hot cocoa afterwards to warm up. Instead, warm up with peppermint herbal tea with just a touch of raw honey for sweetness. An average commercial hot chocolate can run about 400 calories with 16 grams of fat, while tea with honey is naturally fat free and about 24 calories.