While it might be tempting to cozy up indoors and binge watch the latest Netflix show, winter is a great time of year to get outside and be active. Shorter days, freezing temperatures, and a lack of sunshine can lead to us all feeling a bit blue, which is why winter is such a great time of year to get outside and try some fun activities. Fresh air and exercise are a major endorphin boost—those feel-good chemicals that leave you feeling happy.
Check out the following activities you might want to consider doing this season!
Find your nearest ice rink and lace up those skates! You’ll be surprised at how much fun ice skating can be with a group of friends. Skating is a great aerobic exercise that involves your leg muscles, core engagement, and cardiovascular strengthening.
A fantastic lower body exercise, ice skating will work out your calves, quads, hamstrings, and even help strengthen your core. An added plus is that ice skating is a low impact exercise, meaning that it's kinder to your joints with less chance of injury or long term pain.
Ice skating can also be a huge calorie burner! According to studies done by the Harvard Medical School, an average 30-minute session on the ice can burn between 200 and 300 calories. Of course, the more effort you put into skating, the more calories you’ll burn.
After all of the food and downtime of the holiday season, it can be hard to get back into exercising regularly. Try easing yourself back into your routine with some gentle walking. Heading out on walks can be a great way of exploring new neighborhoods or even getting to know your area more. Another idea is to get creative with your walks—take photographs of wintry scenes or listen to music or podcasts while you walk.
An added plus of walking in winter? There’s some evidence that suggests walking may increase your immune function and reduce your risk of catching a winter cold or the flu. One study followed 1,000 adults during flu season and found that those who walked at a moderate pace for 30 to 45 minutes a day had 43 percent less sick days, and fewer upper respiratory tract infections.
You’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll feel by getting outside in the fresh air that soon walking will become a fun everyday activity that you look forward to.
If you’re ready to up your game and take your winter activity to the next level, try running a couple of times a week. While it’s easy to make excuses that it’s too cold for a run in the winter, the cooler temperatures can be the ideal climate for more strenuous exercise.
While it might be hard to believe at the time, running in chillier temperatures is less taxing on the body and much more comfortable than running in hot and humid conditions. There’s also evidence to suggest that running in colder temperatures may burn more fat.
If the idea of running in the cold really does fill you with dread, there are plenty of ways to make it more fun. Try heading out with a friend of similar fitness ability and use the run as an excuse to catch up. It’s also much easier to stay motivated when you have a running buddy to keep you on track. You could also try joining a club and use running as a way of meeting new people and socializing. If you’re the kind of person who likes to set goals and personal challenges, why not try signing up for a fun run or a 5K? You’ll feel great being so productive in the winter, and even better when you reach your goal.
Activities in the snow
The best type of exercise is the kind that doesn’t feel like actual exercise. If you live in a snowy area, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and sledding are all fun, physical activities that don't feel like exercise.
Wondering what else you can do to stay healthy during the winter season? Schedule an appointment with one of our providers! Or, try our new walk-in clinic that’s currently available at our Maple Grove, Osseo, Crystal, and Plymouth locations.