During the coldest months of the year, it can be difficult to find the motivation to exercise and keep in shape. On particularly cold and snowy days, aiming for a quick cardio workout in the comfort of your own home might be the most attractive option. However, the best ways to lose weight and stay in shape during winter actually require you to get outside.
There’s nothing quite like cross-country skiing for an intense aerobic workout. One big reason why cross-country skiing delivers such a caloric burn is because you are literally engaging all of the muscles of your body – your legs, your glutes, your core and your arms. For a less intense workout, search out groomed paths where the snow has already been packed down.
If you live near hills, mountains or nature trails, you should definitely consider the calorie-burning appeal of winter hiking. According to one research study, you actually burn 34 percent more calories when hiking in extremely cold temperatures than in more moderate temperatures. Moreover, you can increase the aerobic value of winter hiking by carrying a heavy backpack or searching out trails with steep inclines or uneven terrain.
Just a word of caution, however: if you plan to do hiking in extremely snowy or icy conditions, it’s best to bring along a pair of crampons that you can quickly slide on and off your hiking boots. The best crampons have strategically placed steel spikes that really dig into icy surfaces, giving you very secure traction.
For urban outdoor enthusiasts, running might be a more practical option than winter hiking. You can actually run faster and longer in the cold, and this makes it a great training option for those looking to get ready for spring and summertime races.
As in the case of winter hiking, though, you will definitely want to make winter traction a priority. Most serious runners prefer to wear ice cleats or urban running spikes for additional traction. A lot depends on your specific geographic location – if your neighbors don’t clear the sidewalks, or if you live in a more rural location, you will definitely want to strap on a pair of ice cleats before heading out for a run.
There’s something relaxing about gliding along a frozen pond or ice rink during winter, which is why you might not think of ice skating as a top workout for losing weight. The key here is making sure that you are adding in lots of turns and change of pace – the more that you are bending your knees and moving your body, the more calories you will burn. And to ramp thing up even more – you can turn a day of ice skating into a casual game of ice hockey with your friends or family.
Getting outside is a must during the winter months. Exercise options such as winter hiking, cross-country skiing and winter running are some of the best ways to lose weight (and then keep the weight off!) during the coldest months of the year.
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