Oh, the weather outside is frightful

When it’s cold outside, the wind is howling, and the snow is falling, you’ll no doubt be tempted to skip your workout and hibernate indoors. But how many calories will that burn? On the days your normal exercise routine isn’t possible there are plenty of other ways to stay in shape during the winter months. Don’t let the weather be another excuse not to exercise. You may have to get creative, try something new, and step outside of your comfort zone, but you won’t regret it.

Stay committed to fitness all year round with these winter fitness tips.

Gym junkies (that’s you) may find their commitment to exercise challenged on cold, dark winter mornings or when bad weather makes travel difficult. But weather permitting, the gym is an ideal location for exercise any time of the year. Get your cardio with interval training on the treadmill, stationary bicycle, or in the indoor pool. Then get your strength-training workout by lifting weights.

A change of seasons may mean a change in workouts. Check your gym for new classes starting up. Classes are a great way to stay accountable, keep motivated, and have fun. Ask a friend to join you and who knows? You may find that you love working out with your friends. At our personal training studio, small group training is super popular for this reason.

Just because you’re stuck at home doesn’t mean you get away with skipping a workout. There are plenty of ways to exercise in the comfort of your living room. Watch an exercise DVD or YouTube workout video, do bodyweight exercises, deep clean your house, turn on some tunes and dance, or run up and down the stairs. The goal of exercise is to get your body moving, your heart rate elevated, and your breathing increased. So get creative and start moving.

Cold outdoor temperatures really aren’t a good excuse to skip your workout. You can still go running, walking, cycling, or hiking in cool weather and all you need is a few extra layers, a hat, and gloves to stay warm. (In extreme weather conditions, remember to use caution.) And don’t forget, too much time spent indoors is bad for your health. Spend a few minutes each day out in the sun to get the extra dose of Vitamin D you need in the winter to boost your mood and immunity.

People who live in areas that see snow in the winter have a long list of additional winter activities workout options that aren’t just great at burning calories but are fun at the same time. When you finally come inside to warm up after just half an hour, you may not even realize you had a workout. Building a snowman and having a snowball fight with the kids for half an hour will burn 100 calories easily. Ice-skating with the family will burn more than 150 calories. Shoveling snow from your driveway, downhill skiing, or snowboarding will torch calories big time.

Sledding will burn more than 200 and one of the toughest yet most rewarding workouts, cross-country skiing, will burn an incredible 250 or more calories in just half an hour!

Do you find yourself struggling to stay healthy, more tired than usual, or feeling blue during the winter months? All the more reason to stick to exercise all year round. Working out in the winter not only burns calories and makes it easier to fit in your swimsuit in the summer, but it will also boost your immune system, fight fatigue, and improve your mood.

Jack Wheeler is a personal trainer and the owner of 360 Fitness in Red Deer.

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