Usually, when the temperature starts dropping so does our motivation to get out of that warm, furry blanket and we usually retire to a comparatively lazier routine than usual. But that doesn’t have to be the case. There are a wide range of rigorous and not so rigorous workouts that we are sure you can, not just do but also enjoy. In this edition, we share a range of interesting and effective winter workouts for you to choose from.
Outdoor Winter Workouts
There is no denying that this is obviously the more entertaining and exploratory way of working out. Let’s have a look at some of the best outdoor activities that can count as perfect workouts.
Nordic (cross-country) Skiing
Contrary to popular belief, Nordic and cross-country skiing are not interchangeable terms for the same activity. In fact, Cross- country is a type of Nordic Skiing. The sport got its name from the region in which it originated i.e. the Nordic region of Europe. Skiing involves and essentially requires almost all of your body parts to be utilized, your hands will be in constant motion owing to the ski poles which the rider makes use of in order to propel themselves forward and also helps to maintain their balance over the ski shafts on which they stand. The thin board like skiing shaft allows you to stand on it and maneuver yourself across the icy mountains causing you to not just lose calories (approx. 500-700) but to have fun and experience the Nordic’s favorite kind of adventure.
In our personal view winters are the best time to opt for a rigorous hike because it’s obviously less sweat and dehydration when the sun is not exactly blessing the planet with its scorching light and heat as it does in summers. So pack your backpack with more than a few good glucose sources and a couple of water bottles, strap on your joggers and get ready to burn up to 650 calories an hour depending on your speed and incline of the land your chose to hike on.
One doesn’t have to be a professional figure skater or a pro at ice dancing to don those ice skates and glide your way on the ice rink. Ice Skating or Ice hockey are the kind of activities which will help you not just to lose calories (~500-700 calories) but to improve your core, balance and lower body strength additionally allowing you to learn some fancy moves in order to impress your friends and colleagues with.
Running (preferably with a pet, your dog)
A brisk walk or preferably a jog/ run around the block is a healthy way to start your day with. If you have a pet then this activity would be even more fun. Just strap the leash around your animal’s neck and get set go. Running is one of the most conventional exercises and helps burn up to 1200 calories per hour.
Whether it is getting rid of the winter blues or burning calories lets paddle your way through it. Cycling, for people who enjoy it, is an exercise which is almost therapeutic. It helps lift your mood and makes you happier by releasing natural antidepressants in your body and helps burn as many as 1500 calories if you have the stamina to paddle to the speed of racers. You must, however, make sure that your bike is well equipped for wet pavements and roads, is in good condition, including being free of rust, and having a good wheel alignment.
The very first thing we think of when we see snow, is building a snowman and having a snowball fight with our peers and family members. While many may think of it as just a lousy game, we play to get ourselves messy and kill some time while maybe having a good laugh but what it actually does is much more. Snowball fight requires a lot of arm swinging for throwing the balls across, bending to make up those snowballs for the next attack and of course running for cover from your opponent(s). Collectively all these acts do make a good enough workout regime in addition to giving you some time to bond with your loved ones.
Dressing Tips for Outdoor Winter Workouts
As much as we recommend our readers to go out and engage in outdoor sports and activities in the winter season, we do also feel concerned about your health. In order to prevent yourself from catching a cold or in the worst-case scenario, frostbite, you must keep in mind certain dressing tips before stepping a foot out in the snow.
Retaining as much of your own body heat as possible is the best strategy during winter workouts. The worst thing you could do is to wear a wet garment – a sock/glove or even the scarf as the moisture will allow heat to be conducted from the region of higher concentration i.e. your body to the region of lower concentration i.e. the cold air. Our advice? Dress dry and not just warm.
Extremities are those regions of the body which receive less blood flow as it is directed to the core of the body (for obvious reasons – vital organ protection). Your fingers, toes, nose and ears are the parts that need special attention so protect them with gloves (preferably mittens), socks, hoodies and mufflers.
Bright Clothes or Reflective Gears
Winters do not like to come alone. They bring in fog and dark skies which means that unless someone walks around with infrared vision glasses all the time, it would be a tad bit difficult for them to see you until it’s too late. To prevent any such mishap, we recommend that you opt for bright colored garments or at least make sure that your protective gear like knee caps, helmets etc. are reflective and bright colored. Sure, black looks more classy and cool but safety-first pals.
Leggings Instead of Baggy Sweatpants
Opting for clothing that better hugs your body will not just prevent you from tangling up in your own clothes while working out but they also provide better insulation trapping your body heat inside and they also have better sweat-wicking capabilities.
Now that’s the most common piece of advice one might come across but it’s also important to be mindful of the fact that you are going out for a workout – a process that generates body heat and warms you up. For this reason, it might be a good idea to wear layers that are removable instead of packing yourself up too tightly.
Indoor Winter Workouts
Swimming in warm pools
Consider this just another form of a long, relaxing shower, with just a bit of movement of course. Swimming may be a hobby for some of us but it also serves to an excellent full-body workout. Being in a pool of warm water will help you relax your muscles and doing laps will allow you to flex those loosened muscles and get back in form. You must, however, be sure to take proper training and ensure that there are lifeguards available for your initial lessons at least.
There are a number of sports which have made it to the interiors of outbuildings. So, if you absolutely refuse to take a risk of freezing yourself with an outdoor workout, opt for indoor sports like,
- Basketball: is a full-body workout which helps you improve your agility and builds team spirit. It is safer than playing outdoors especially for kids and is usually more monitored.
- Futsal: is basically football or soccer that is played indoors. Allowing you to practice your favorite game within the comfortable confines of a hall and being just as effective of a workout as the usual game.
- Boxing: in addition to allowing you to release your pent-up frustrations and channelize them correctly, boxing may help you strengthen your muscle reflexes and enhance your strategy building skills.
Indoor Fitness Boot Camps
If you are someone who prefers an organized and well-planned workout then fitness boot camps are your place to be. They usually include combinations of aerobics, strength training and speed exercises. Boot camps typically offer much more intense and rigorous forms of exercise as compared to gyms and may not be the choice of place for elderly, pregnant females or people who are not in shape.
Racquetball or Squash
Another sport that serves to be a workout exercise. Swinging the racket and hitting the ball with full force while simultaneously moving around with the ball. The intense workout helps you lose weight, keeps you fit by burning up to 800 calories/hour and have fun at the same time.
A toned-down, less intense version of mountain climbing still happens to be a good workout as it makes use of all your body muscles. Even though you are tied up with harnesses and pulleys, it is still your work to get to the top. Good muscle coordination and the ability to push yourself forward are key elements of this exercise. It is an activity many of us may enjoy in fact companies like google offer this as an entertainment option for employees to utilize during their breaks.
Cold weather generally comes with a sense of laziness and procrastination. This applies especially to workout routines. At the same time though, the drop in temperature opens opportunities for exciting sports that can translate to good winter workouts. With the right motivation, you can keep your healthy regimen going even when the temperature drops.