Winter is almost here and if you don’t want to pack on the pounds from all your holiday binging, you need to stay active. I hate exercising inside my house. Not only is it awkward, with half of the contents of Babies-R-Us dumped in my living room, but it can be embarrassing when your teenagers invite their friends over to laugh at Mom’s jiggly thighs “walking away the pounds”. And knowing my teens, I would probably become the next overnight comedy sensation on YouTube. The solution that I have found is to involve my family in a fun outside winter activity. You can lose weight, stay in shape, and [maybe] get the kids off MySpace for a change.
My favorite winter activity is sledding. Sledding can be a lot of fun for the whole family. If you have children who are too young to ride alone, you can put them on the sled with you. Find the tallest hill that you can safely sled down. The walk up the hill is going to really burn a lot of calories and every time you reach the top, you get the reward of flying down the hill. Not only does sledding burn 485 calories in one hour, but while you are having fun outside, the time will really fly! Before you know it, you will have burned that extra slice of pumpkin pie from your derriere!
Another really fun way for the family to keep in shape in the winter is by going ice skating. Ice skating burns 460 calories per hour at a leisurely pace and burns 600 calories per hour at a vigorous pace. If you don’t know how to ice skate, just learning to ice skate still burns about 360 calories an hour! For a beginner, it may benefit you to enroll in a learn-to skate program. And when you don’t have access to an outdoor area for ice skating, you can travel to an indoor rink to find some ice; you will still be getting out of the house to exercise.
Finally, for those of you who live in a region without ice or snow, you can go hiking. Cross country hiking burns about 420 calories per hour and hiking in hilly or mountainous terrain can burn up to 540 calories per hour. Hiking is fun, easy, and can be done anywhere outdoors.
Dressing for warmth in the winter is important, but you need to be able to stay comfortable and flexible also. For all of these winter sports, wear flexible and soft clothes in thin layers to trap warmth without being too bulky to move. Layering is an effective way to be able to remove some clothing if you get too warm. Hats are a great way to retain body heat without inhibiting your flexibility and comfort. Be sure to have a pair of gloves to protect your hands from the cold.
All of these outdoor winter activities are great alternatives to hitting the gym or using the treadmill at home. You can enjoy being outdoors with your family and have a fun and effective way to keep your jeans from becoming overstuffed!