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Cold Weather Fitness: How to stay active in the winter

2012-12-19T00:00:00Z 2012-12-20T12:21:07Z Cold Weather Fitness: How to stay active in the winterBy Ashley Boyer
December 19, 2012 12:00 am  • 

The weather outside may have you running to hide under the covers, but exercising in the winter is necessary for good health. You can even have fun while doing it.

Southlake Branch YMCA Group Fitness Coordinator Amy Lucka and Wellness Coordinator Cheryl Louttit agree that staying active in the winter not only helps you stay fit, but it also improves overall wellness.

“With the holidays coming, it’s important to stay active in order to keep your weight down and burn off some of those extra calories we all seem to consume this time of year,” says Lucka. Exercising in the winter keeps muscles limber in case of falls and helps people feel better about themselves overall, adds Louttit.

Need help getting motivated? Louttit and Lucka recommend working out with a friend, planning fun activities with the family, joining a group fitness class—such as Zumba, group cycling or boot camp—or finding a personal trainer.

“Personal trainers and fitness instructors work very hard to keep workouts and routines exciting and motivating for their clients and members,” says Lucka.

But you don’t have to stay indoors to get a good workout. Why not take advantage of the beautiful snowy landscape, have some fun and burn calories at the same time? Favorite winter pastimes like ice skating and sledding burn 294 calories every half an hour.

If you’re looking for a harder workout, strap on some skis. Opt for cross-country skiing at a 4 to 4.9 mph pace, which burns a whopping 336 calories in 30 minutes, compared to downhill skiing at a moderate pace, which expends 252 in the same amount of time. Snow shoeing for 30 minutes, just like cross-country skiing, burns 336 calories, as does a rousing game of ice hockey.

Living in the upper Midwest means you probably don’t need to be reminded that winter time isn’t all fun and games, but you can work up a serious sweat completing outside chores. Shoveling snow by hand or chopping wood for 30 minutes both burn 252 calories, while using a snowblower torches 189 calories every half an hour.

*Calories burnt were calculated for a person weighing 185 lbs using WebMD’s Fitness and Exercise calculator, which can be found at

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