It’s not uncommon to want to hibernate for the winter, but it’s important for our health, fitness and mindset to keep up an active lifestyle. There are a handful of benefits that come with outdoor winter workouts and we’ve outlined 9 great ways to put your muscles to work this winter.
Snowshoeing: a tranquil way to enjoy the outdoors or a killer workout? Actually, it’s both. Though it may not seem like a killer at first glance, this deceptive workout will have you feeling it in no time. Not only does snowshoeing give your heart rate a boost, but it will give your muscles, especially the lower body, a major challenge.
Can’t wait for sun-soaked spring cycling? You don’t necessarily have to. Give fat biking a shot, the wide-tires tackle snow and give the rider a great workout. It’s become increasingly popular and there are more places to ride than ever before. If you can’t get rid of the snow, why not just ride on top of it?
You just can’t go wrong with one of these downhill sports that challenge the entire body. During an hour on the slopes, according to Snow Sports Industries America (SIA), skiers and boarders burn anywhere between 450 and 700 calories—and those numbers don’t even account for the strength benefits. Though the two sports require different motion and thereby strengthen different muscles, both provide great workouts.
When it comes to team sports, it’s hard to beat a pickup football game in a ton of fresh snow. Get some friends together and get in an incredible workout while trying to dodge your opponent and make it through piled up snow. A nice bonus: the snow also acts as a bit of a cushion for when you are inevitably tackled.
This tough and classic workout is a go-to winter activity for major athletes that want to stay in shape, so you know it provides major benefits. Propelling yourself forward on a pair of skis and mostly flat terrain is one hard task, but it’s a lot of fun too. Stick with it to see cardiovascular and strength improvements throughout the body.
Winter running might be synonymous with the treadmill, but it doesn’t have to be. Running outside on snow can be perfectly safe and it comes with some lesser known benefits. The slick surface of the snow can make it tougher to grip the ground—which, in turn, strengthens the stabilizing muscles in your legs.
This one takes quite a bit more courage than the other workouts, but rest assured it’s a crazy workout. Ice climbing strengthens from shoulders to calves and if you were concerned about your core, climbing will strengthen that up too. On top of that, the feeling of conquering a wall of ice is simply incredible.
Sled pulling is such an effective workout that it has been brought into gyms across the country. Get the same strength and cardio benefits while enjoying the great outdoors and the ride down the hill.
The old date night favorite can also double as a great workout, especially for your lower body. Ice skating comes in many forms, from figure skating to hockey games and each provides its own list of benefits—even the regular laps around the ice can provide fitness benefits.