How many times have you looked out your window on a gray winter day and made the excuse that it’s too cold to exercise? While the short days and cold nights may tempt us into hibernation mode, winter is a great time to try a new seasonal activity and jump-start your commitment to losing weight.
Exercise is an essential part of leading a healthy lifestyle and the catalyst for a faster weight loss. Dr. Agatston, author of The South Beach Diet Wake-Up Call, recommends 20 minutes of interval or core-strengthening exercise on most days of the week. Exercising not only tones your body and trims inches off your waistline, it also releases endorphins, known as “feel good” hormones, which can boost your mood, revitalize your energy levels, and prevent bouts of emotional eating. Try these fun outdoor workouts to help keep you motivated and shake those seasonal blues:
skating. Sick of pounding the pavement? Take
your workout on ice. Ice skating is a great winter sport that will condition
both your body and your heart. Search for a local ice skating rink, where you
can rent skates for an hour-long session. You can easily incorporate ice
skating into your interval exercise routine. Skate around the rink in
intervals, in which you alternate short bursts of intense activity (15-60
seconds each) with easier recovery periods.
Snowshoeing. Snowshoeing is a fun way to explore hiking trails around
your neighborhood park or a safe, woodsy part of town. You can also snowshoe
with family and friends in an open football or soccer field. Get your heart
rate up by racing each other up and down the field. Snowshoeing also makes a
great core-strengthening workout: By taking wider steps as you walk uphill,
you’ll engage your core as well as your lower-body muscles, including your
calves, quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Snowshoes should have a lightweight
aluminum frame and synthetic decking, which is usually made of a cold-resistant
rubber or plastic material. Many sporting goods retailers have package deals
that include snowshoes and poles. Keep in mind that using poles can help with
balance issues, especially if you’re new to the sport, walking up hills, or
doing steep inclines.
Sledding. This traditional snow sport is a long-time favorite for
adults and kids alike. Sledding can be a great workout for the same reasons as
snowshoeing and ice skating, except it doesn’t require as many balancing
skills. Run up the snowy hill in intervals, and then use the downhill ride as
your recovery period. For an added strength-training workout, carry your sled
overhead as you climb back uphill or pull your kids all the way up. You can
purchase a sled at a sporting goods store, or use an inner tube or waxed piece
of cardboard as an alternative.