Struggling to get up, out, and busy during the cold days? You’re not alone. Staying active is essential for good health all the year round, but getting the exercise we need in winter demands more motivation than some of us can muster.
For families especially, staying fit together takes effort – especially if you have warring siblings who struggle to co-operate at any time, let alone when exercising.
Still, just because there’s snow on the ground, a chill in the air, and ice on our lakes doesn’t mean you can’t get out there. In fact, that opens up new, exciting possibilities.
Here are just a few winter outdoors exercise ideas for families …
First and foremost, snowshoeing is one of the most healthy winter activities you can enjoy. For families, this is the perfect way to burn off all those calories consumed over the holiday period. For example, walking on flat terrain burns around 370 calories per hour (for someone weighing 120Ibs).
Meanwhile, trekking hilly areas covered with packed snow offers more than 1000 calories’ worth of exercise (for people weighing in at 180Ibs).
Now, we’re not suggesting you should send your kids walking for hours at a time with snowshoes on their feet, but trying this activity as a family is a fun way to kick-start your metabolism.
Nature Walks in National Parks
America’s national parks are beautiful all year round, and are an ideal site for a little nature-tour during winter. Take your kids on one of the many trails and see how many different types of flora and fauna you can spot, with incentives. For example, you might want to offer them a treat if they can identify five different kinds of bird, trees, etc.
Not only will going on a nature walk for an hour or more burn calories and work your muscles, it’ll also educate you all at the same time.
One of the great winter traditions: building a snowman.
Big fun? Absolutely. But there are actually various benefits to building a snowman, snowcastle, or any other snow-sculpture.
First, if you do this as a family, you’ll be working together to achieve a set goal, encouraging collaboration and communication. You’ll also be working your muscles as you scoop up snow, pack it in place, run around – building a snowman can burn around 285 calories per hour.
Once you’re done, you’ll get to stand back and appreciate what you’ve all accomplished together as a unit. It’s a fantastic way to get valuable exercise, bond as a family, and explore your creativity.
Sledding can burn around 450 calories per hour on average, mostly through stomping back uphill with your sled behind you. As anyone who does this on a regular basis will know, this does have a major impact on your thighs, at least!
Sledding can be enjoyed as part of a day of winter activities, such as hiking, ice skating, and building snowmen. Make the most of the crisp, snowy days while they’re here.
If you plan to play in the snow, go hiking, or sled, you’ll need to take drinks, spare clothes, and snacks with you. Carry your supplies in a waterproof backpack to keep them dry.