10 Ways to Melt Mega Calories this Winter

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10 Ways to Melt Mega Calories in Winter Weather

Outdoor exercise can help many people develop a greater appreciation of the cold weather and help prevent the winter blues. Instead of letting the dropping mercury drive you indoors, try one of these 10 ways to burn up some calories and make the most of the freeze.

All of these winter pursuits utilize your major muscle groups and multiple joints, so be sure to warm up, stretch and cool down during each winter workout. And don't forget about the importance of dressing for the weather (and your respective sport). As the odds of falling are higher when your balance is compromised on snow or ice, the right gear is critical.

*All calorie counts based on a 145-pound woman. Men and individuals who weigh more will burn more calories.

Snowshoeing: 510 calories per hour

Snowshoeing is a great way to get an outdoor workout in the winter and torch BIG calories along the way. Because the snow adds resistance and your feet are heavier in snowshoes, you'll recruit more muscle fibers with every step and burn more calories than standard walking or running. Exercisers of all fitness levels can work at their own intensity level and gradually work their way up to longer workouts. Fitsugar.com has several great posts about getting started with snowshoeing that you can check out here.

Hiking: 445 calories per hour

Don't reserve hiking for the warmer months. Winter is a great time to hike, provided it's not icy and you can still see the trail markers at your local stomping grounds. Hiking around in snow--especially deep snow--can be great exercise, too. It requires more effort from legs and heart than simple walking, and the only additional equipment needed is good, insulated boots that will keep your feet dry and warm.

Shoveling: 380 calories per hour

Let's face it: Most people don't enjoy shoveling because it involves time, hard work, and cold weather. If you view shoveling as a workout challenge, you may start to feel a little differently about it. With an ergonomic shovel and proper form (use your legs, not your arms and back), you'll elevate your heart rate to an aerobic level and burn enough calories to justify skipping the gym that day.

Sledding: 455 calories per hour

Provided that you're walking back uphill, you'll have fun with your friends (or kids) and boost your aerobic fitness with an hour of sledding. Get more out of it by working hard on your way uphill, and then you're basically doing interval training, which is a great way to burn calories and boost your fitness level.

Downhill Skiing: 385 calories per hour

A power activity that helps improve muscle strength and endurance, downhill skiing targets every muscle from your abs on down. It's fun but can be pricier than other winter sports, especially if you have to rent equipment. If you do decide to buy, check with used sports equipment stores: Ski fanatics often sell their equipment after only a year, so you can get the-almost-latest models at slashed prices! Because people tend to ski for several hours to take advantage of their day passes, you'll get a lot of exercise in a single ski trip, but keep in mind that these calories burned estimates don't apply to the downtime you spend sipping hot chocolate in the lodge or relaxing on the ski lift on your way back uphill!

Ice Skating: 450 calories per hour

Ice skating boosts your endurance, balance and coordination and is the aerobic equivalent of a light to moderate jog. It targets your abs, calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps, and can be done indoors or out. If you're looking for a fun winter date night that doesn't involve a movie, try ice skating--it's perfect for Valentine's Day!

Snowboarding: 390 calories per hour

When winter hits, many avid snowboarders hit the slopes as often as possible, which may mean they're skipping the gym. That doesn't mean they're missing out on a good workout. Snowboarding can burn anywhere from 250-630 calories per hour and help you improve your balance and core strength at the same time. (Snowboarders are known for having tight abs after all!)

Cross-Country Skiing: 510 calories per hour

Cross-country skiing is similar to snowshoeing in that it provides an intense cardio workout without stressing your joints. Burn 500 calories hour or more during a brisk cross-country ski excursion. You can ski almost anywhere you find enough snow: a trail, conservation area, local park, or even a farmer's field. This is also a great alternative to downhill skiing and provides more of an endurance workout because you don't have the downtime of riding back uphill between runs.

Ice Hockey: 380 calories per hour

You've heard of basketball, softball and soccer leagues, but have you ever looked into an adult lessons or leagues for ice hockey? Hockey is a great aerobic workout that also improves coordination, and you're never too old to start! It you're looking for something challenging and more competitive than these other pursuits, ice hockey could be the winner for you.

Broomball: 470 calories per hour

Broomball is like the poor man's (or college student's) version of ice hockey. The rules of play are very similar, but people use "brooms" to hit a ball, and instead of wearing ice skates, they play in rubber-soled shoes. Broomball recreational leagues can be found almost anywhere you find ice hockey leagues.

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Member Comments on this Slideshow

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GRANDMAKIT

3/30/2014 11:42:01 AM

GRANDMAKIT's SparkPage
Thanks! Wish I'd seen this at the beginning of this wonderful winter.

BILBOBWN

2/6/2014 8:20:57 AM

Nothing like an hours worth of snow blowing and another 30 minutes of snow shoveling. I always used to leave this to my husband but he had hand surgery this winter so I'm in charge of this home chore. It's always hard for me to get out there but once I'm bundled up it's not bad at all and I feel great! I'm not giving it back either!

MAPFARMS

2/5/2014 3:10:40 PM

MAPFARMS's SparkPage
Was shoveling the big drift across the sidewalk today

ABERLAINE

2/2/2014 7:33:23 AM

ABERLAINE's SparkPage
I do the shoveling in the family. We own a bad snow thrower and I'd rather use the energy of the shovel.

GIVEUP30

1/26/2014 12:36:49 PM

GIVEUP30's SparkPage
I use to love the snow but well no more....cold weather I still can do walks not in snow cold weather

BLUESKY104

1/21/2014 10:27:39 AM

BLUESKY104's SparkPage
I find I can no longer tolerate the cold when it is frigid and windy but fortunately I don't mind exercising anyway so can always find something to do indoors to keep the calories burning.Kickboxing and Zumba are two of my favorites.

NANABECKY6

1/17/2014 10:31:53 AM

NANABECKY6's SparkPage
I live in Milwaukee and there are maps of the different shopping malls that open early for indoor walking. I've been there, and you don't want to get in the way of any of those hikers! They don't window shop!

NANABECKY6

1/17/2014 10:30:21 AM

NANABECKY6's SparkPage
Sledding burns more calories than shoveling because of all the walking uphill towing the sled, not the downhill part.

1GROVES2

1/15/2014 9:16:32 AM

1GROVES2's SparkPage
I cannot believe that sledding burns more calories than shoveling! I looked at that 3 times and still cannot figure out how that can be possible......

SUZIEQ1097

1/11/2014 3:15:36 AM

SUZIEQ1097's SparkPage
Great ideas for winter activities.

ZPOST72

1/9/2014 8:20:18 AM

ZPOST72's SparkPage
I live in Florida so these wouldn't help me.

CHANTENAY

1/7/2014 3:31:02 PM

CHANTENAY's SparkPage
I like snowshoeing. But I love that snow shoveling burns as many calories as snowboarding!!!

JFASSEL1

1/7/2014 10:58:23 AM

I live in Central Wa, and belong to an outdoor club. this club is mainly REALLY old people. Im the young one (58). They are my inspiration to keep moving. Last summer we celebrated with a 90 year old by doing a 60 mile cycle (he did 30). 8o+ year olds are hiking,snowshoeing and skiing on a regular basis. Join a outdoor group if you can- it will keep you young, moving and never bored!

CVRONEK

1/7/2014 7:46:18 AM

CVRONEK's SparkPage
GLORYB2014.... I understand what you mean and I am much younger.
I love to do these activities, but modify, by doing the movements, inside.
Two of my favorites, speed skating movements, but in my living room, and ski jumping movements! Great squats, there.
I have agreat imagination and if I am watching these things, on the TV, I feel like I am there.
Improvise, overcome and adapt!

CAD0808

1/7/2014 6:36:07 AM

CAD0808's SparkPage
For Gloryb2014, most of this is not too difficult for an older person. I just got back from a vacation in Colorado, and I saw people who would be classified as elderly showshoeing, downhill skiing, hiking, and downhill skiing. As long as you are in shape and careful, and go with someone, it should not be a problem to do several of these activities.

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