Since movement and fitness is important all year long, don’t let winter obstruct your exercise routine. According to an article by Harvard Medical School*, working out in lower temperatures improves endurance and exercise efficiency.
Walking, jogging, or running in the cold gives your body a chance to strengthen its immunity. Also, workouts that are performed in the snow forces you to utilize more stabilizer muscles since walking in the snow requires more effort.
Winter-Specific Fitness Opportunities
It should be obvious that some fitness opportunities are only available during the cold winter months. Instead of hibernating, and waiting for the warmth of spring, embrace the possibilities that winter presents.
Skiing – Skiing can be a moderate to an intense workout, usually depending on your skill level. Skiing increases leg strength, improves flexibility, builds up your core muscles, and even promotes healthy aging.
Snowboarding – Very similar to skiing, snowboarding has many of the same health attributes as skiing, except your weight is balanced on a single board. This will have a greater impact on overall core strength. The lower body also benefits tremendously from snowboarding.
Ice Skating – Ice Skating requires a good amount of balance and coordination. Besides this, ice skating will also build up overall posterior chain strength, with an emphasis on the legs and core. Regular sessions of ice skating may improve motor skills, muscle tone, and mental health.
Snowshoeing – Snowshoes look like racquets that you strap onto your shoes, allowing you to walk on top of the snow rather than sinking into it. Despite being low impact, snowshoeing will increase your heart rate. This lower body activity will target your glutes, calves, quads, hamstrings, and core due to the balance needed to prevent falling.
Sledding – Though perhaps not as rigorous as the previous activities mentioned on this list, sledding can have plenty of benefits. First and foremost is the cardiovascular benefit you will reap from it. Second, if you are the one carrying the sled to the top of the hill, then strength benefits will come into play as well.
Staying Safe During Cold-Weather Exercise
It’s always best practice to dress in layers when exercising during cold weather. This way, when you start to sweat, you can easily remove layers of clothing as needed. Protect your head, hands, feet, and ears since these are the extremities most vulnerable to frostbite. Lastly, drink plenty of fluids. You can become dehydrated relatively quickly while exercising outdoors, and it may be harder to notice during cold weather.
Don’t let the cold, dark winter weather discourage you from meeting your fitness goals. There are plenty of exercise opportunities solely available during the colder season. It may be worth changing up your current fitness routine to keep the activities fun and in tune with the winter months. For more winter fitness opportunities, please call us at 832-402-6911.