Guest Post – Brandon Serna, Creative Winter Workouts

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jogsnowIf you’ve spent the last several months staying fit while enjoying the great outdoors, don’t let the coming frigid weather leave your exercise routine out in the cold. Many of us tend to pack on the pounds during winter due to inactivity and intense cravings for calorie-laden comfort foods, but that doesn’t mean you’re destined to shop for the next clothing size up at the end of the season. Check out a few ways to stay fit this winter:

Indoor Workouts

Indoor exercise opportunities abound, often without the need for a gym membership. A negligible equipment investment is required for some, while most cost nothing but your own effort. Yoga classes and home workout DVDs can help you stay in shape, but other low-cost alternatives do exist. From jumping rope to cleaning the house, DIY workouts can help you avoid packing on the pounds this winter.

A jump rope requires a tiny outlay and gives you an excellent workout in return. If you weigh 150 pounds, jumping rope incinerates 171 calories in just 15 minutes, and you can make this activity even more effective by mixing up your moves. Try slightly bending your knees and shifting your weight from side to side every time you jump for a boxer-worthy routine. Another option is hopping on one foot while kicking the other foot a few inches off the floor, alternating sides as you jump.

An exercise ball offers an inexpensive yet effective alternative to costly workout equipment. Great for strengthening the core, exercise balls can increase the intensity of leg lifts, crunches and other exercises or help you improve balance simply by sitting on them.

Healthy Holidays

Holiday preparations may interfere with your gym time, but they can be workouts in themselves.

Holiday preparations may interfere with your gym time, but they can be workouts in themselves. Cleaning the house is a great calorie-burner at almost 200 per hour; even cooking holiday meals can help melt the pounds away if you’re buzzing around the kitchen or throwing in a few dance moves to holiday music.

Shopping for gifts and clothes for parties can be a figure-friendly part of your routine this holiday season. Provided you don’t stop at the food court for on-the-go goodies, trekking around the mall helps you burn calories while crossing an item off your to-do list. Take the stairs around complexes when possible and go ahead and park in the far lot. Drop bags off at the car after each purchase to melt even more calories. Your final tally can be as many as 250 to 300 calories per hour if you maintain a quick pace.

Winter Wonderland Workouts

If you’d rather take your exercise routine outside, winter sports may be the answer. Outdoor winter workouts are effective because snow provides resistance. Cross-country skiing is an enticing option, burning 650 calories per hour. More convenient and affordable options include snowshoeing at 563 calories an hour and ice-skating at 493 calories per hour.

snowboarderDo you want a killer routine for your legs and rear end, but don’t have access to a stair-climbing machine? If ice doesn’t present a hazard, try climbing the stairs of a local stadium, building or auditorium. You’ll get a heart-pounding workout for free, and really work your quads and gluteal muscles. Climbing stairs also burns over 475 calories an hour. In addition to its cardiovascular, muscle-toning and calorie-burning benefits, this workout helps boost your metabolism so you end up burning more calories even when relaxing.

Shoveling snow does double duty. This winter activity lets you create safe passageways around the home instead of paying someone else to do it. At the same time, snow shoveling offers cardiovascular benefits for workouts lasting 15-plus minutes and burns over 400 calories an hour. It provides a great workout for all your upper-body muscles, and you’ll have to contract your core muscles to maintain balance and get the job done. With a lot of snow and proper form (use your upper-body muscles instead of your back) this can even replace an upper-body gym workout.

– Guest post provided by Brandon Serna, an avid runner working with Hydroworx, aquatic therapy and fitness products.