For many, the winter months represent a time for hunkering down and hibernating with a queue full of Netflix titles, hot chocolate, and cinnamon rolls. But just because it’s cold and snowy outside doesn’t mean you have to put your healthy, active lifestyle on hold. Here are 5 of the healthiest winter sports to try this season.
If you’re looking to build some serious aerobic endurance this winter, then you should look no further than cross-country skiing. You’ll also build some serious thigh muscles, not to mention calf and butt muscles. Your biceps and triceps will get plenty of work in, too. It’s a great fat-burning activity, as most average-sized adults will typically burn 500-650 calories per hour.
Where cross-country skiing is a long, steady workout, downhill skiing takes massive amounts of energy in short bursts. How short? It all depends on the length of the run you’re making! You’ll work virtually every muscle in your lower body, as well as your core muscles and to a small degree, the muscles in your arms. Downhill skiing burns anywhere from 360 to 570 calories per hour.
Another short-burst type of activity, snowboarding will give you all the workout you can handle–from your abs down to your ankles. Similar to downhill skiing, snowboarders typically burn around 480 calories per hour.
Providing you’re not performing a series of Olympic-caliber jumps; ice skating is a pretty low impact sport. Muscle-wise, you’ll build up a lot of lower body components–hamstrings, hips, quads, and calves. You’ll also increase your flexibility, agility, and balance. The more talented you become at ice skating, the fewer calories you’ll likely burn because you won’t have to work as hard, but on average, skating burns about 77 calories per hour.
Finally an option for those who prefer group sports! You’ll work the same muscles as ice skating–primarily your lower body. You’ll also get an upper body workout from hauling a hockey stick around on the ice. You’ll build coordination, situational awareness, and teamwork skills as well. Hockey players can get their heart rates as high as 190 in just a couple of minutes, so you’ll definitely burn some calories, too.