Getting your butt to the gym in freezing cold temps is no easy feat. Combine that with a meal of comfort food calling your name at home, and staying in shape is nearly impossible. The good news is we’ve found a handful of winter-friendly workouts that are not only effective, but also fun enough to convince you to head outside. If chilly temperatures are threatening to leave you couched, give these five outdoor winter workouts a try.
If you’re an avid hiker who wasn’t quite ready for the fall to end, snowshoeing is for you. Besides, you’ll get to trade picturesque landscapes for even more picturesque mountains. All you have to do is throw some snowshoes on your feet for a morning or afternoon filled with snow-capped peaks and calorie-burning exercise. According to Men’s Fitness, snowshoeing burns about 300 calories in 30 minutes (for a 180-pound person). Go longer to reap even more benefits.
2. Cross-country skiing
When you think of winter sports, downhill skiing is probably the first thing that comes to mind. But not everyone has slopes in their backyard, which is why cross-country skiing is so great. Not only is it a great workout, but cross-country skiing also allows you to explore the tranquility of nature at its finest. Dip into a forest dense with trees or stride through open fields glistening with snow. Whatever your route, Prevention says a 150-pound woman can torch about 510 calories per hour.
3. Downhill skiing or snowboarding
Although the two have a never-ending (and well-known) rivalry, skiers and snowboarders can agree on one thing: These classic winter sports aren’t for the faint of heart. And we’re not talking about bunny hill slopes, either. Downhill skiing and riding can help you shed pounds one turn at a time. Outside Online says, “alpine skiing burns approximately 500 calories an hour while snowboarding lags slightly behind at 450.”
With every turn you make, your legs, core, arms, glutes, and obliques will reap the cold-weather benefits. While these statistics don’t account for time spent riding the lift, there’s no denying skiing and snowboarding deliver a workout, so long as you’re actually challenging yourself.
4. Shoveling snow
Say what?! Yes, that’s right, you can now consider your least favorite wintertime activity a bona fide workout, granted you do it long enough. You probably already know shoveling snow is no walk in the park. All that squatting, scooping, and lifting means shoveling snow is a way to sneak a workout in before work without having to leave home. According to an infographic on Life by Daily Burn, you can burn about 500 calories per 80 minutes of shoveling snow.
5. Ice skating and hockey
You don’t need to have an Olympic gold medal under your belt to keep a pair of skates in your closet. If you live in a place that drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or have access to an indoor ice rink, hockey or skating may become your next calorie-burning go-tos. According to The Huffington Post, both ice hockey and ice skating burn 500 calories per hour. And it’s not as cold as you’d think. The brisk temps are evened out by your rapid movements, so you’ll hardly even notice the chill.