We’re reaching the bitter end of January and it seems like the days are only getting colder. We wake up and it’s dark, we get home from work and it’s even darker; pretty much causing us to lose any bit of motivation that still lingers from our New Year’s Resolutions. When it’s a typical winter day, with a high of -25 degrees, and all you’re focused on is surviving the daily commute, it’s hard to make exercising a priority. The drop in temperature makes our minds and bodies experience a serious drop in energy. Seasonal depression is all too real in these dark, frigid months that seem to drag on forever. The cold weather curses us for too long, causing us to gain weight, over sleep and lose focus. For all of those winter lazy-bones and couch potatoes out there, we’re here to boost those vibes and put a bright spin on your winter days -- you might want to bundle up for this!
Live in a cold climate? Don’t fret! There are still so many ways to stay active and enjoy yourself at the same time. Alone or in a group, these outdoor activities make working out in the winter thrilling rather than daunting and give a whole new meaning to winter wonderland!
1. Running/Biking: There may be snow on the ground, but with the proper equipment, who says your cardio exercises have to stop?! While dressing in layers is the first step, possibly the most important factor to take into consideration is the amount of traction your shoes/tires have. Seeing that the snow and ice can be slippery, make sure your soles have traction. To be safe, maybe just stay away from walking/biking up the super steep hills around this time…
2. Cross-country Skiing: This is an effective full-body workout, ensuring that no one muscle is directly targeted, making it possible to endure for several hours at a time. It is a strength-building exercise, as well as a cardiovascular workout. The Globe and Mail outlines just how beneficial cross-country skiing can be in terms of both your physical and mental health.
3. Snowboarding: You may not reach Shaun White’s level of expertise, but as long as you put in the effort, you will see results. Whether it’s flexibility, balance, or even just putting yourself in a good mood, snowboarding is an entertaining and core-strengthening exercise. The best part? Going with a group of friends, having the time of your life, and unexpectedly gaining muscle!
4. Ice Hockey: You can tell we’re from Canada, eh? Once again, this is both amusing and advantageous. Playing with friends or with your family, you will undoubtedly have a blast and work your core and legs simultaneously.
5. Ice Skating: Throughout winter, you can head to your neighborhood skating rinks, and free skate for hours on end. You can opt out of the quad jump and two-foot spin, and simply stick to skating around the rink to help with balance and endurance.
6. Sledding: This is a give and take type of activity. Having to pull the sled and walk all the way up the hill uses your arm and leg muscles. But, tobogganing down at an uncontrollable speed, screaming at the top of your lungs brings out your inner child. Your workouts don’t always have to be so strict and concrete -- have some fun while working your core!
7. Hiking/Mountain climbing: Though they both have the same end goal, there are slight differences between the two. While hiking is more of a pleasurable, less challenging exercise, mountain climbing requires more athletic ability. People choose to hike in order to reach a summit overlooking the most beautiful views, and get a little exercise out of it as well. Others choose to mountain climb as a self-challenge to improve stamina and core strength. Both are excellent sources of muscle-building, and both emanate miraculous, mountain-top scenery as a bonus.
8. Curling: If it wasn’t for the Olympics, many people may have never known what curling was (click here if you still don’t). Being a team sport, this is yet another activity that you can engage in with your friends or family, making another winter exercise fun for everyone! See what all the fuss is about -- grab your brooms and rocks and try it out for yourself!
9. Snowshoeing: Although it may look funny -- with having tennis-racket shaped objects as the soles of your shoes -- it’s a little more difficult than it may seem. You often sink into the fluffy snow rather than glide across it. You run out of breath quite easily and will often have sore legs the next day. BUT, between burning calories and working your back muscles, the benefits of snowshoeing are greater than many other activities. If you’re trying it out for your first time, check out these awesome snowshoeing trails in the Canadian Rockies for beginners!
10. Snow Playing: Building an igloo or a quinzee, having a snowball fight, or any other snow-play activities are not only entertaining, but they are calorie-burners as well. PopSugar outlines the exact amount burnt, making snow days all the more beneficial!
Need more convincing? Try them out for yourself and learn more about the health benefits of outdoor winter activities. Boost your energy and fitness motivation with some Revolsmusic tunes! Listen to the “Take A Walk” playlist and head outside!