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Healthy Habits: Winter Ways to Stay Active

December 12, 2016

As we head into the chillier months, it can be hard to stick with a habitual workout regimen. The cooler temperatures and minimal sunlight can make it tough to find the motivation to get outside and get active. However instead of dreading the winter months, why not embrace the new weather and find creative (and fun) ways to stay active?

Here are four of our favorite winter-friendly workouts along with the benefits they bring:

  1. Ice Skating: While the thought of lacing up some ice skates to brave the winter weather may seem daunting, it can be a great way to get moving. Invite your friends or family for a quick skate and lots of laughs, especially if it’s someone’s first time on the ice. What’s more? You can burn almost 250 calories during just 30 minutes of ice skating.[1]
  1. Shoveling Snow: Many of us love the first snowfall of the year, but we can all agree that the task of shoveling snow is exhausting. This year, think of that chore as a brilliant way to sneak in an extra workout. Put away the snow blower and go old-school with a shovel and some elbow grease, burning up to 400 extra calories after an hour of shoveling your driveway.[2]
  2. Skiing/Snowboarding: Instead of running for the sunny beaches, embrace the snow and pack your bag for the mountains. Skiing and snowboarding make for an active trip that will leave you feeling accomplished and relaxed after a long day. Two hours of downhill skiing burns over 800 calories[3] – think how many you could burn after a 3-day weekend!
  3. Running: When your alarm goes off in the morning and you look out your window to a dark street covered in fresh snow, it can seem impossible to put on your gym shoes and hit the pavement. However, running in the cold burns more calories than running in warm weather[4] and a 30-minute jog (7.5mph) can burn over 300 calories.[5] It is also a great way to take in the snowy wonderland and see the sun rise over your neighborhood.

The benefits of getting outside and getting active are endless – not only could they help negate those holiday treats, you’ll also get some much-needed vitamin D and can actively fight off Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms, such as loss of energy, irritability and weigh gain, which affect an estimated 10 million Americans. [6],[7]

Working out in the winter is no easy task, remember to consult your physician or health care professional before starting any new workout regimen or activity to see if it is right for you. However you feel about winter, try to give the cold a chance and you may just find a new favorite activity – or season – in the process.

[1] Which Classic Winter Sports Torch the Most Calories? Retrieved from http://www.shape.com/fitness/training-plans/which-classic-winter-sports-torch-most-calories

[2] Wayne, J. (2015, June 4). How Many Calories Can You burn Shoveling Snow? Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/301177-the-number-of-calories-burned-when-shoveling-snow/

[3] Which Classic Winter Sports Torch the Most Calories? Retrieved from http://www.shape.com/fitness/training-plans/which-classic-winter-sports-torch-most-calories

[4] Hall, A. (2014, December 11). 7 Big Benefits of Exercising Outside. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/11/working-out-in-cold-weather_n_6276544.html

[5] (2016, January 27). Calories burned in 20 minutes for people of three different weights. Retrieved from http://www.health.harvard.edu/diet-and-weight-loss/calories-burned-in-30-minutes-of-leisure-and-routine-activities

[6] (2015, November 18). Seasonal Affective Disorder. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder

[7] (2015, November 18). Seasonal Affective Disorder. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder

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