Who Cares if it’s Snowing—You Can Still Work Out!
It’s been said that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing, and I believe this is true! I hear clients tell me quite often, “I was going to go for a run (or walk or whatever), but it was [insert inclement weather condition here].” Simply put, it’s usually a convenient excuse to not work out. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done this too, we’re human, but there are many things you can do to work out, despite the weather.
Great Snow Workouts
We’ve been in the middle of a great Seattle Snowpocalypse/Snowmaggedon the past week. So…what can you do for your workout if it’s snowing? There are a ton of things you can do right in your own neighborhood. You don’t even have to risk driving in the snow for some awesome exercise!
Go for a Walk!
Walking is excellent exercise! Perhaps it isn’t your planned run, but walking increases your heart- and respiratory rate, giving you a good moderate-intensity workout. Add your snow boots and some trekking poles for stability, and you’ve increased resistance trudging through the snow and added upper body movement for an even better workout, burning about 450 calories an hour.
Cross Country Ski
Don’t just use your cross country skis in the mountains, take a spin through the neighborhood! In college, we used to head to the local golf course when it snowed—it was a fabulous place to Nordic ski and it was FREE! Cross country skiing is an amazing workout. You can burn about 400 calories an hour with even light effort.
Just like the cross country skis, grab your snow shoes and explore your neighborhood or local park. Not only is snowshoeing great exercise, snow shoes give you more traction in the snow than snow boots alone, making walking in the snow a safer activity in icy conditions. Snowshoeing burns approximately 475 calories per hour.
Sledding has got to be the world’s best way to enjoy hill repeats! You’ll spend hours climbing up a sledding hill without ever once realizing you’re getting an amazing workout. I normally hate hill repeats, but I’ll spend the whole afternoon sledding and never give climbing the sledding hill a second thought! Why not join the kids and find the perfect sledding hill away from cars and burn 410 calories an hour?
Make Snow Angels
Aren’t snow angels really just horizontal jumping jacks? See just how many snow angels you can make in 10 minutes. Make it a contest with your friends or family! Make a bunch of them—playing in the snow can burn up to 200 calories an hour! Who knew…child’s play can be exercise for grown ups!
Get into a Snowball Fight!
Just like making snow angels, throwing snowballs burns a bunch of calories—about 320 calories per hour, depending on how rambunctious you are! Get your whole crew together and make it a family affair. Embrace your inner child and get a great workout in. How did we ever move away from exercise being fun?
Build a Snowman
If you live in the Pacific Northwest, like I do, you know that our snowmen usually are pretty dirty as we don’t get deep snow! But rolling balls of snow across the yard and hefting them one on top of the other can be a terrific workout. The more dirt, rocks, grass in your snowman the better your workout! Take an hour to build a Frosty and burn 300 calories! Heck, build a whole snow family!
Shoveling snow can burn a whopping 340 calories an hour! This is a great whole-body workout, and incorporates some strength-training as well as aerobic activity. Shovel your driveway, sidewalk, and even help your neighbors out by offering to shovel theirs as well. Combine altruism with your workout and everybody wins!
It is important to have a contingency plan for your exercise regime. Life doesn’t always cooperate with our workout plans. Contrary to common belief, you don’t need an expensive gym membership for a great workout. As we saw above, we can get superb exercise with child’s play and the great outdoors. Gardening, mowing the lawn, taking the stairs can all be sources of exercise. YouTube is full of excellent workout options you can do at home, from aerobic exercise to muscle-strengthening. Find some options now for your workout contingency and you’ll be less inclined to skip exercise later. Try searching YouTube for the following ideas:
- Strength exercises without weights
- Bodyweight exercises
- Playground exercises
- Resistance band exercises
How Much Exercise Do We Need?
Current guidelines for minimum activity for Adults (ages 18-64) include:
- At least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity a week (or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity). This should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, and preferably spread throughout the week.
Moderate-intensity exercises include those exercises that increase your heart rate and breathing, and generally rate as a 5-6 out of 10 on a scale of exertion. Examples include brisk walking, dancing, recreational swimming, or level terrain bicycling.
Vigorous-intensity activity greatly increases a person’s heart rate and breathing, with a perceived exertion of 7-8 on a 0 to 10 scale. This includes jogging, tennis, continuous lap swimming, or bicycling up hills.
Ideally, for additional and more extensive health benefits, adults should increase their aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity, or 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity a week (or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity).
- At least 2 or more days a week include muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups.
Don’t like going to the gym to lift weights? Muscle-strengthening activities include more than lifting weights…it’s any physical activity, including exercise, that increases skeletal muscle strength, power, endurance, and mass, such as strength training, resistance training, and muscular strength and endurance exercises.
Make it Fun!
Exercise doesn’t have to be un-fun! Take the work out of workout and try adding some fun, playful activities that you enjoy. Find things that involve your kids and the family and everybody benefits. As kids, we played, and we didn’t even realize we were exercising! Now we can REALLY look forward to snow days!
Tell me, what kind of activities do you include that are really hidden exercise? How do you incorporate this into your daily life?
Cindy Thompson, MS, is a certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator; an American Council on Exercise certified Health Coach, Peer Fitness Trainer, and Fitness Nutrition Specialist; Tilth Alliance Soil and Water Steward; 5 Gyres Ambassador; and retired fire captain and paramedic. She provides health and lifestyle coaching at Trimazing! Vegan Lifestyle & Health Coaching. Cindy can be reached at email@example.com.