5 sports to help you to stay fit (and have fun) in the winter

 

The journey towards personal fitness is tough at any time of the year.

But winter offers it’s own set of challenges, making it an especially difficult time to stay fit.  Cold weather can become an obstacle for anyone in the process of maintaining or beginning a fitness regimen.

Not to mention, the hustle and bustle of the holiday season seem to make it twice as hard to keep up with ongoing workout goals.  We won’t even talk about the sweets.

Everyday health and fitness activities can become extremely unappealing or even unsafe in the midst of icy winter weather.  In order to fight winter complacency and combat holiday weight gain, it’s important to find fitness activities that suit the conditions.

There are lots of fun sports to play during the winter months that can keep you fit and not too far off your goals when bathing suit season rolls back around.

 


Skiing and Snowboarding

Easily the most iconic of winter sports, skiing and snowboarding require little more than some equipment and a snow-covered hill (the bigger the better).

 

Need to Know Info

Skiing and snowboarding are favorite sports of many, but can be dangerous if not done with proper form.

When you’re new, an instructor is a must.  But once you have the hang of it, weaving back and forth down a snow-covered mountain is one of the most exhilarating ways to burn calories known to man.

While your legs and core bear the brunt of the work, both of these activities engage your entire body.  So don’t be surprised when you’re sore from head to toe the day after.

 

Benefits

  • Burns over 450 calories per hour
  • Improves strength
  • Improves balance
  • Improves coordination
  • Especially targets legs and core muscles

 

Snowshoeing

Snowshoes have existed as a means of hunting and moving from location to location, without sinking into the snow, for centuries.

Yet in recent years, snowshoeing has emerged as a recreational activity that allows people to walk and run across unpacked snow without sinking.

 

Need to Know Info

Snowshoeing involves movement similar to walking or hiking.  The snowshoes cause you to bring your knees high and elongate your steps but it is essentially snow-hiking.

Similar to skiing, you use poles for increased stability.  As your technique improves, snowshoes can even be used to jog through the snow.  In some cases, this may even be easier as your feet have less time to sink into the snow.

If you’re really looking for a challenge, try hiking or jogging up a hill in snowshoes!

 

Benefits:

  • Burns over 500 calories per hour
  • Improves stamina
  • Muscular and cardio fitness combined in one exercise
  • Accessible to all fitness levels

 

Yoga and Pilates

For those of you that refuse to go outside during the colder months, here’s an indoor option.  Yoga and pilates can be done at home or with a class at the gym.  

 

Need to Know Info

Whatever the season, a yoga or pilates habit is one of the best things we can do for our body.

Low intensity but high impact, both are perfect activities for improving flexibility, strength, and balance.  They can even help improve your mental health.

From Vinyasa flow to hot Bikram yoga, there are a wide variety of styles, practices, and difficulty-levels of yoga.  Similarly, there are several schools of pilates.

It may take some time, but finding one that fits for you might make a major difference in your health overall.

 

Benefits:

  • Reduces stress
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Reduces fatigue
  • Improves strength
  • Improves flexibility

 

Ice Skating

Ice skating isn’t just for kids or dates.  You can also use it to stay in shape during the winter.  If it’s too cold or ponds don’t freeze near you, head to your local indoor rink to carve up the ice.

 

Need to Know Info

Not only is it a ton of fun, skating also keeps your cardiovascular system on it’s toes while toning  the legs, core, and butt.  It is incredibly good for your heart.

Obviously, ice skating can be dangerous.  But if you use it for the purpose of maintaining fitness, you will gain dexterity, balance, and stamina while lowering your chances of painful falls.  Like anything else, practice makes perfect.

 

Benefits:

  • Burns about 500 calories per hour  
  • Tones legs
  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Improves balance
  • Improves coordination

 

Basketball

Many people think of basketball as a summer sport.  However, high schools, colleges, and professional teams play in the winter.

That’s due to the fact that there are indoor basketball courts in cities across the country.

 

Need to Know Info

The constant movement involved in a game of basketball is incredibly good for building athletic endurance.  It also has tremendous effects on cardiovascular health.

 

Because the movement can be so dynamic, it’s important to stretch beforehand and to watch for straining movements that can harm weak points like the ankles.  Your body is especially prone to muscle pulls and ligament tears in the winter, so warm ups are crucial.

 

Benefits:

  • Burn more than 600 calories per hour
  • Improves endurance
  • Improves hand-eye coordination
  • Exercises full body

 

 

Don’t let the extra pounds gained during the holiday season stick!  Instead of hibernating, find something fun and exciting to keep you in shape!

That way, when the summertime rolls back around you won’t have to make any drastic changes to get beach-ready.