Making the Most of Winter Weather

By Karen Psiaki, RD, LDN

Unless you are lucky enough to live in a tropical climate, Winter has probably arrived at your location. While I love the snow, Christmas decorations, sitting by a warm fire, and drinking hot cocoa, this is undoubtedly a more difficult time of year for exercise. Not only do shorter days and colder temperatures make it tough to stay motivated, but the challenges of snow and ice render exercising outdoors nearly impossible. But there’s hope! You don’t have to stay in and buy a gym membership just to keep in shape. There are some fun and practical ways to use snow and ice to your advantage this winter.

How to Get Enough Exercise
And Have Fun in the Cold Months

The basics
The most obvious way to take advantage of the weather is to go outside and take a walk in the snow. It’s fun and easy, and it will actually burn a lot of energy. Walking on snow or ice, requires us to work harder taking each step and stabilizing our bodies on potentially slippery surfaces. That’s why even a short walk in these conditions can leave you quite exhausted. In addition, our bodies use more energy to maintain a high internal temperature, so just being out in the cold is more work than being outside in the summer.

With the family
If you and your family or friends like to play outside, you should make the most of it. Try building a snowman, have a snowball fight, or go sledding. All of these are excellent ways to get your heart pumping without having to “exercise.”

Winter sports
For those of you who like a more structured workout plan, consider taking part in one of these fun winter sports. For example:

Downhill skiing or snowboarding
Calories burned per kg (per hour): 5.9 Calories
Calories burned by a 70 kg person, exercising for 1 hour: 413 Calories

Cross country skiing
Calories burned per kg (per hour): 7.8 Calories
Calories burned by a 70 kg person, exercising for 1 hour: 546 Calories

Snowshoeing
Calories burned per kg (per hour): 7.8 Calories
Calories burned by a 70 kg person, exercising for 1 hour: 546 Calories

Ice skating
Calories burned per kg (per hour): 6.9 Calories
Calories burned by a 70 kg person, exercising for 1 hour: 483 Calories

Ice hockey
Calories burned per kg (per hour): 7.8 Calories
Calories burned by a 70 kg person, exercising for 1 hour: 546 Calories

Sledding or tobogganing
Calories burned per kg (per hour): 6.9 Calories
Calories burned by a 70 kg person, exercising for 1 hour: 483 Calories

Quick tip: Don’t undo all of your hard work outdoors by going inside and eating too many cookies or drinking lots of chocolate milk! Moderate your intake of winter goodies so that you don’t pack on the pounds over the next few months.

Reference
Montoye, H.J. Energy Costs of Exercise and Sport. In R.J. Maughan (Ed.), Nutrition in Sport (pp. 53-72). Oxford, UK: Blackwell Science.

Karen Psiaki, RD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian who is currently completing her International Olympic Committee’s diploma in sports nutrition. Her interest in sports nutrition started at a young age as a competitive gymnast when she was constantly bombarded with nutritional tips from her coaches, teammates, and trainers. Eventually, she decided to take matters into her own hands by learning about nutrition and drawing her own conclusions as to what was “healthy.” She lives in Vejle, Denmark. For more information, please visit http://www.radionutrition.com

The articles written by guest contributors are the sole responsibility of the individual writers in terms of factual accuracy and opinion and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher of this blog.

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