Fitness Articles

HOT Winter Workouts

Melt Calories Faster than the Snow

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Downhill Skiing
A power activity that helps improve muscle strength and endurance through high-intensity exercise, downhill skiing burns about 300 calories an hour and targets every muscle from your abs down. It’s a lot of fun, but pricier than most winter sports: lift ticket ($35-$55), boots ($200-$400), poles ($50) and skis with bindings ($400-$600). You’d be wise to rent equipment to start, and most hills offer daily rentals for all sizes. If you do decide to buy, check with used sports equipment stores. Ski fanatics often sell their equipment after only a year, so you can get the-almost-latest models at slashed prices.

Snowshoeing
With almost 5.9 million participants, this hybrid of running and cross-country skiing is one of the fastest growing winter sports! Exercisers of all fitness levels can work at their own intensity level, increasing stamina and toning leg muscles. There was a time when snowshoes looked like big tennis rackets, but times have changed. Easy to transport, the shoes pack away in much less space than skis or sleds, and provide a great aerobic workout — burning anywhere from 360 to 860 calories an hour, depending on your speed and the depth and packing of the snow.

Snowshoeing is a great way to condition for running. These movements are similar. Snowshoes add resistance, yet there is less impact on joints. In fact, research shows that runners who substitute snowshoeing for winter training improve their running fitness over those who choose running as their primary winter activity. 

Other than the snowshoes themselves and a pair of waterproof hiking boots, no special equipment is necessary. You can rent snowshoes for around $20-$30 a day, or buy your own from about $100 to $260. If you expect to be a fairly regular user, it may be worth your while to invest in a pair.

Cross Country Skiing
Like snowshoeing, cross country skiing is an aerobic sport that works all body parts (especially your biceps, glutes, hamstrings, triceps and quads) without stressing your joints. Burn 560 calories hour or more with a brisk cross country ski excursion. You can ski almost anywhere: a trail, conservation area, local park, or even a farmer's field. As with snowshoeing, you can make your workout gentle or vigorous, and you can rent equipment for less money until you’re sure you want to purchase (new skis, boots and poles average about $250).

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About The Author

Rebecca Pratt Rebecca Pratt
A freelance writer who contributes to various newspapers and magazines, Becky loves covering ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Member Comments

  • Just a note... I live in Colorado and lift ticket prices are nowhere near $55 dollars (they were like 15 yrs ago when I was in High School). Nowadays you can plan on spending ~$100/lift ticket depending on the resort. - 3/20/2014 8:02:39 AM
  • Since I live in the Deep South (Mississippi), we don't have to worry about the snow. It does get cold, but thank God I don't have to shovel snow away from my car, or use a blowtorch just to unlock it.
    - 12/2/2013 10:17:48 AM
  • SERENE-BEAN
    This article says to stretch before working out, but SP tells us all the time not to do that. - 12/1/2013 4:03:46 PM
  • I'm all up for snow-hiking!
    Where I live we're surrounded by fields and hills, and last winter when we had loads of snow (UK) I took to the fields with great gusto.
    Highly invigorating! - 1/25/2012 11:29:55 AM
  • Several of these activities sound fun & easy to try. Downhill does get expensive though, but snowshoeing & cross-country can be safer anyway. Thanks for a great article. I'm actually more inclined to exercise when it's cooler than in summer! I don't handle heat. - 11/19/2010 2:08:23 AM
  • Great article. - 11/12/2008 2:57:06 PM
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