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The Cold Never Bothered My Workouts Anyway

Whether it's the looming threat of black ice, the relentless wind pounding your lungs or the snow pelting your face, the winter months have a way of making outdoor exercise seem less than appealing. But if you're someone who meets chilly weather with a groan, your aversion to winter workouts might dissipate with the right cold-weather activity. It’s time to strap on your sneakers, head out into the frozen tundra and sing "Let It Go" loud and proud.
Try some of these activities that can only be done once the thermometer dips below 32 degrees, burn major calories and break up the monotony of gray days sitting inside.
Skiing – 238 calories*
Adorable winter hats aside, downhill skiing will have you working lower-body muscles you didn't even know you had. Just ask Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn and her sculpted legs. The sideways shifts from left leg to right as you weave your way down your mountain will fire up your quads, glutes, calves and all the muscles in between. Plus, there's nothing better than a well-deserved après ski cocktail after a day on the slopes.
Snowboarding – 211 calories
Skiing's slightly more extreme cousin, snowboarding continues to be a popular option for snow bunnies of all ages. The added element of balancing on the board means your core muscles come into play in a big way throughout your ride to the bottom. Before you hit the slopes, try to fit in a few specialized workouts that will strengthen your core muscles to be sure that your body is ready for the added strain on your muscles
Ice Skating – 238 calories
You don't need to know how to do a triple axel to find enjoyment in the simple pleasure of ice skating. While oohing and ahhing at the ease with which Olympic skaters master their complicated turns, simply gliding on the ice has its own impressive health benefits. In addition to core work, a story from The Washington Post details how ice skating has been found to play a part in increasing bone mineral density.
Snowshoeing – 272 calories
If your favorite part of summer is the endless trails found in local and national parks, don't let a little snow rain on your parade. This low-impact aerobic exercise can be done pretty much anywhere snow is on the ground and is a great way to get out and see the beauty of snow-covered trees all winter long.
Cross-Country Skiing – 238 calories
Anyone who has ever lost momentum before they reached the lift line knows how difficult it is to maneuver skis on flat ground, but the sport of cross-country skiing is guaranteed to blast both your upper and lower body in a short amount of time. Depending on your technique, you'll be utilizing your abdominals, triceps, biceps, glutes and quads and more, as you push, glide and skate your way along a gorgeous, snowy trail.
Broomball – 238 calories
Part hockey-minus-the-skates, part field-hockey-on-ice, broomball gains more fans every year. Played on an ice rink in sneakers with a stick topped with a broom-shaped head, your objective is to shoot a ball into the opposing team's goal, which means a lot of running and maybe a few slips on the ice. After running and sliding across the ice for 20 minutes, you'll be sweaty and happy. Look for a local league as a great way to ensure you emerge from hibernation to socialize with friends throughout the winter months.
Sledding – 238 calories
Grab your kid's sled or a trash can lid and hit the closest hill for a fun way to burn some calories. After climbing up the hill, working your calves and quads in the process, enjoy your instant reward as you slide high-speed down to the bottom—then do it again. This is a great way to get the whole family to exercise while spending time together.
Hockey – 272 calories
Take ice skating and add the element of quick-paced competition and you've got a high-energy winter sport that requires every muscle group. Your hamstrings will feel the burn as you skate backward, while your inner thighs benefit from your lateral movements. Plus, holding and shooting with your hockey stick will keep your arm muscles in the game.
Curling – 136 calories
While it might appear slow-paced and simple watching the pros do it in the Olympics, curling competitors actually work up quite a sweat. The process of "sweeping" requires the arms to move quickly as you press the brush into the hard ice to guide the rock to its intended target area. Just a few passes will leave your upper arms with that feels-so-good burn.
Shoveling Snow – 211 calories
It's a chore, yes, but when you're out there at the crack of dawn carving a path for your car to get down the driveway, keep in mind that you're getting in some solid calorie-burning work. The fact that just 30 minutes of shoveling destroys more than 200 calories should be enough to at least put a small, frozen smile on your face.

*All calories burned estimates based on 30 minutes of activity for a 150-pound person.
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Member Comments

interesting article... too bad so many of the commenters are so negative
Sneakers for winter sports? Not where we measure our snow in feet and have temperatures way below 0! Report
Winter sports are expensive, and not everyone can afford to participate in them. As for me, I live in the south, where our winter is maybe two months of (relative) cold. This year, I don't think we have had more than about five nights where the temps got below freezing. So I am not used to the cold, and don't handle it well. Winter sports are not for me! Report
I hate the cold and we live where it is cold almost 6 months a year. There is no outside exercise that is enticing enough to get me out in the cold. I leave my house only when absolutely necessary in the winter. I do have a stationery bike and Leslie Sansone walking dvds that I use for exercise in the winter time. Report
Good information! Thanks for sharing. Report
Good need-to-know information! Report
Thanks! Report
Great article! Report
Great article! Report
Not much of an outdoor person Report
I have access to a shovel that's it...No snowy mountains, no lakes or decent ice for skating, No skis, poles, skates etc...This is like we are all rich or something and can go travel to exotic resorts to exercise.. Report
too cold for me! lol Report
I don't like to workout outside when it is cold because of my asthma. I have tried using a mouth cover, but it is not effective for me. Report
As I am getting a little older, the cold bothers me a little more, but simply add more warm layers! Report
Walking Guide

About The Author

Alicia Capetillo
Alicia Capetillo
Alicia graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Science in journalism and a minor in film and media studies. Prior to joining SparkPeople, she worked in marketing and public relations and once left it all behind to backpack through South America. Alicia enjoys making every muscle weep at Orangetheory Fitness, farmers markets, planning trips to practically every country and cheering aggressively for her beloved Cincinnati Reds and New Orleans Saints. She can also make a mean guacamole on toast.