Winter is the perfect time to hibernate. The shorter days and dark, cold mornings conspire to make you want to ditch any plans you might have had to work out in favor of another hour of blissful sleep in the toasty cocoon of your blanket.
But you’re not a grizzly bear, and your body craves movement, even through the winter months. Here are 7 ways you can stay active while you wait for the spring thaw.
1. Shoveling snow
Take advantage of the next blizzard by leaving your snow thrower in the basement and grabbing your shovel for a little good old-fashioned winter workout.
Shoveling snow burns upwards of 400 calories an hour, depending on how much you weigh and how hard you’re working. That’s nothing to shake a snowflake at!
2. Ice skating
Grab some friends or your family, bundle up in scarves, mittens, and hats, and hit the local ice skating rink. In a rink or on a pond—make sure that ice is thick, now—ice skating burns 390 calories an hour.
3. Cross country skiing
The world looks different when it’s covered in snow. See for yourself when you rent some cross country skis and poles. Dress in layers, starting with sweat-wicking fabrics close to your skin and layering warm wool or technical fabrics on top for ultimate warmth and comfort, but be sure you can move.
Cross country skiing is one of the most intense winter workouts. Even at a slow pace, you’ll burn 500 calories an hour. Phew!
4. Mall walking
If mall walking conjures up images of retired folks walking a fast heel-toe glide in sensible footwear, think again. The next time you’re snowbound, it’s too cold to play outside, and your house full of kids are practicing their outdoor voices, mall walking could save your sanity.
Strap the smallest kids in a stroller and hit the mallways. Many malls have mall-walking programs and open for walkers before the stores are open.
5. Roller skating
Indoor roller skating rinks have been around for decades…and it’s been decades since many of us have been back to one! But when you want to have fun and get moving without bundling up for the cold, a roller skating rink is a great option for the whole family and won’t break the bank.
6. Chopping firewood
Oh, the rustic beauty of it: wind blowing the snow off the trees, the silence as nature sleeps—and the occasional chop, chop of your hatchet as you cut wood for the fire, your breath puffing up in the cold.
Chopping firewood burns almost 300 calories an hour.
Want to go (almost literally) anywhere you feel like in the forest? Buy or rent a pair of snowshoes and forge your own trails. Snowshoeing is one of the best ways to feel like winter is fun, especially when you’re coasting lightly across the top of deep snow. As a bonus, it’s an excellent way to keep your physical and mental spirits up. Even on an easy tromp, snowshoeing burns around 400 calories per hour.
With all these ways to stay active, there’s no reason to hibernate with the bears this winter. Keep it up and you’ll emerge in the spring feeling and looking great!Author profile: Kimberly Paine is a fitness instructor, mom, and writer. She writes the health and wellness blog at HyperVibe, a whole body vibration company dedicated to helping people live healthier, fuller lives.