Unless you’re blessed to be living in a warm climate, when much of the population thinks about a winter workout they think indoor fitness. Instead of trying to contend with the snow, cold, and ice, it’s easier to take shelter from Old Man Winter in the safety of your home or commercial gym. When conditions are dangerous outdoors, staying in is probably best. However, what may seem like the longest season ever isn’t always treacherous, and actually offers a lot of fun ways to burn fat while also killing cabin fever.
Winter Workout Wear
Indoors, you can wear whatever you want to working out, but for a winter workout outdoors, it’s best to dress in layers. Depending on the winter workout, you’re still likely to sweat and raise your core temperature, so wearing layers can help you more easily regulate how hot or cold your feel.
That said, don’t strip down so much that you become vulnerable to the conditions. Frostbite and hypothermia are big risks for winter workouts, so it’s best to keep as much of your skin covered as possible. Also, go for fabrics that wick away sweat and moisture, as damp fabric can continue to lower your body temperature to unsafe levels. And don’t forget a hat! Up to 40 percent of body heat can escape just from your noggin.
Must-Try Winter Workouts
Once you’re properly bundled up for your winter workout, get ready to have snow much fun–all while building the fit body of your dreams! The following are a few of our favorite cold-weather fitness options:
- High-Knee Sled Hills: Take a page from the kiddos in town, and head to the sled hills for a fat-blasting workout…and yes, you’ll need a sled! If you’ve ever run hills before, you know how quickly it can boost your heart rate. Since snow is in the mix, we’re slowing the speed a bit but without sacrificing intensity. Starting at the bottom of the hill, hold your sled overhead with both arms extended and your elbows soft. Head up the hill taking high-knee step as you go. This stepping style might happen naturally if the snow is deep. However, if the powder is packed the goal is still to mimic the motion. When you reach the top, slide down on your sled and start again! Complete as many rounds as possible in 25 minutes.
- Walk on Water: The nearby waterway where you kayak, swim, and paddleboard in the summer can also make a great spot for a winter workout when the water freezes to ice. No skates? No problem! Melting away body fat is just steps away. (Just make sure the ice is strong enough to allow for human activity atop!). Just as walking can be a solid cardio exercise, walking on ice ups the intensity and causes all your stabilizer methods to kick into action to keep you from slipping. Ice can be super slick, so slow, controlled, and steady is the perfect pace. Aim for a walk of 30 to 45 minutes, and the balance you keep while taking an icy path will pay off in fat burn.
- Snow Strength: Got good packing snowing? Before you build a snowman, use the balls of snow in a circuit-style winter workout. Start by forming the snow into a medicine ball shape. If it’s too heavy, knock off some snow and reform. If it’s too light, pack on more pounds. Complete 10 reps of each of the following exercises without any breaks in
between. Do three full rounds, only resting one to two minutes between each round.
- Squat and Press: Hold the snowball at chest height with a hand on each side. With your legs hip-width distance apart, sit back and down into a squat. As you return to standing, push the snow ball up and overhead.
- High-to-Low Chops: Stand with your feet about shoulder-distance apart and the snowball at chest height with a hand on each side. Lift up and to the right while rotating your torso slightly. Swing the snowball down to the left, lowering into a squat while rotating your torso. Complete all the reps on one side before repeating on the other.
- Around the Worlds: Work your shoulders and core by holding the snowball with a hand on each side and circling the ball around your head. Complete all reps in one direction before repeating in the other.
- Lunge and Twist: Holding the snowball at waist height with a hand on each side, step out into a lunge on one leg while twisting your torso and the snowball in the opposite direction. Alternate your steps on each leg, completing 10 reps on each side.
Don’t feel trapped indoors all snowy season long. Plan a winter workout to take in some fresh, brisk air while also burning away fat. What’s your favorite winter activity? Share with others in the comments!