Making the Most of Winter Weather: Exercise Ideas

Winter has officially arrived here in Denmark, and unless you are lucky enough to live in a tropical location, then it probably has for you as well. While I love the snow, Christmas decorations, sitting by a warm fire, and drinking hot cocoa, this is undoubtedly a difficult time of year for exercise. Not only do shorter days and colder temperatures make it tough to stay motivated, but the challenges of snow and ice render outside exercise nearly impossible. But there’s hope! You don’t have to give in and buy a gym membership just to stay in shape. There are some fun and practical ways to use snow and ice to your advantage this winter.

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Taking a winter walk with my family.

The basics: The most obvious way to take advantage of the weather is to go outside and take a walk in the snow! It’s fun and easy, and it will actually burn a lot of energy.  When we walk in snow or on ice, we have to work harder to take each step and stabilize our bodies on potentially slippery surfaces with each footfall.  That’s why a short walk in these conditions can leave you so exhausted! In addition, our bodies use more energy to maintain a high internal temperature, so just being out in the   cold is more work than being outside in the summer.With the family: If you and your family or friends like to play outside in the snow, then make the most of it! Try building a snowman, having a snow ball fight, or going sledding. All of these are excellent ways to get your heart pumping without having to “exercise.”

Winter sports: For those of you who like a more structured workout plan, consider taking part in one of these fun winter sports!

Activity

Calories per kg  

(per hour)

Ex: calories burned by a 70kg person,   exercising for 1 hr

Downhill Skiing, Snowboarding

5.9

413

Cross Country Skiing

7.8

546

Snowshoeing

7.8

546

Ice Skating

6.9

483

Ice Hockey

7.8

546

Sledding, Toboganing

6.9

483

Quick tip: Don’t undo all of your hard work outdoors by going inside and eating too many cookies or too much chocolate milk! Moderate your intake of winter goodies so that you don’t pack on the pounds over the next few months.

Reference: Montoye, H.J. Energy Costs of Exercise and Sport. In R.J. Maughan (Ed.), Nutrition in Sport (pp. 53-72). Oxford, UK: Blackwell Science.

Copyright: All content © 2010-2018 Nutrition Strategy Advisors LLC. Photographs © Donna P Feldman, unless otherwise attributed. Reproduction or use without permission is prohibited.