The winter is this magical time where families get together, celebrate holidays, and unfortunately, people tend to spend more time inside. Combined with the excess eating during Christmas and New Years' eve, usually leads to less physical activity and just overall laziness. As well wintertime is not the time of year where you can go outside for a run. That’s why we decided to help you and pick for you 5 of the most unconventional yet fun winter activities, that will help you keep your physical activity going.
Using a set of steps in your home or apartment building can be a great way to combine total-body strengthening, cardio, balance, and coordination. You can do it at home if you have access to stairs—which makes it a safe and easy choice during the cold winter months—and you don’t need any additional equipment. All you need is your bodyweight. If you’ve ever just walked up a flight of stairs, you know it can get your heartbeat up fast. But what makes stair workouts—even short ones—feel so freaking hard? The answer is simple: gravity. Compared with walking or running on level ground, walking or running up a flight of stairs places more load on the muscles in your lower half, namely your quads, hamstrings, and calves, says Hamilton. That’s because as you ascend a staircase, gravity is trying to pull you back down, and your muscles have to work extra hard to overcome that resistance. It’s the same reason running, hiking, or biking up a hill feels more intense—and jacks up your heart rate more—than covering the same distance on a flat trail.
And you can do more than just walking or running up and down them: Adding squat jumps can train explosive power (similar to doing a box jump from one step to the next—you’d want to make sure the steps you’re using are wide enough that you can easily land with both feet firmly planted). For a solid cardio workout, we suggest doing sets of three to five minutes of continuous climbing and descending followed by one minute (or more) of recovery.
Shovel the snow
Clearing your snow-covered walks and driveway maybe your most dreaded winter chore, but this activity also burns lots of calories pretty quickly. Snow shoveling is a dynamic cardio exercise that works the muscles in your legs, core, back, shoulders, and arms. Though the exact number of calories depends on a variety of factors, there's no doubt it's a good workout. As you work to keep your body warm, walk around, lift a shovel loaded with frozen water, brace your core, thighs, and upper body against the weight and repeat a full range of movement with each toss, all of these things add up to a fair workout — and a strenuous one. But in the frigid temperatures, it's essential to take precautions to stay safe. Shoveling snow burns about 223 calories in 30 minutes. Of course, that depends on a few factors. The first is intensity. If you're casually shoveling light, powdery snow from the sidewalk, you're going to burn fewer calories than someone who's quickly moving icy, packed snow out of the way. When the snow is heavier and you're moving more quickly, your body responds by increasing your heart rate, which means your body is burning more calories to fuel the activity. Additionally, if you're scooping up a heavy load, your body recruits more muscle fibers to help you lift it. And of course, if you're only out there slinging snow for 10 minutes, you're going to naturally burn fewer calories than if you were working for 30 minutes. But on the other hand, taking long rests between short bouts of shoveling — or using a snowblower instead of a shovel — will reduce the number of calories you burn.
Clean the house
Your new winter workout doesn’t have to be a traditional exercise. Vacuuming, dusting, changing sheets, hanging up clothes, and putting dishes away will raise your heart rate and keep your arms and legs moving. You might even work up a sweat. Did you know that for example, during dusting you can burn up to 110 calories? A good dusting session is the equivalent of a 30-minute abs class: in fact, it burns more calories than most cleaning tasks. So grab your duster for a real workout that will keep your arms in good shape. In another hand, vacuuming can help you lose approximately 100 calories. Half an hour of vacuuming is the same as doing 10 minutes on the cross-trainer (more if you have lots of stairs!) and you don't need to leave the house to tone your arms. Washing the kitchen floor will burn 90 calories. Staying in and moping the floor might not be as much fun but it will burn just as many calories as 15 minutes of cardio class. Put your favorite music on and the atmosphere will be just as lively! Cleaning the bathroom or the windows is also a good workout. So don’t think twice, grab that broom and start losing weight.
The previous 3 activities were all inside, but it's good whenever we can, to have some fresh air. So dress properly, take that dusty old sleigh from the garage and bring the whole family to this fun adventure. Head to your local sledding hill (provided there’s snow) for a fun, aerobic workout. Sledding requires you to use multiple muscle groups to steer as you speed downhills. You also exert effort while walking with your sled back up the hill so you can go down again. In fact, walking uphill is where you get the most benefit — climbing hills is an aerobic exercise that’s also great for your leg muscles. How many calories you burn with this family fitness activity depends on how many back-and-forth trips you make and the steepness of the hill, but if you keep at it on a medium-height hill for just 30 minutes, you can burn about 240 calories.
Snowy winters are made for snowball fights. But it’s not just fun— cardio and keeps your heart rate up AKA it counts as a workout. You won’t even know you’re working out when you’re having an awesome time with your friends. You can burn anywhere from 200 to 400 calories an hour with this family fitness activity, depending on how high you build your snowmen. Some more snow activities to try: Build a fort, have an old-fashioned snowball fight and make snow angels. Playing in the show is certainly more fun than shoveling it, but you can torch 200 to 300 calories for every 30 minutes you spend clearing your driveway.