Bringing Your Winter Workout Indoors


Filed under Health & Wellness

For all those who enjoy layering up and braving the winter elements for a brisk morning run, there are countless others who find the process of exercising outdoors daunting, to say the least. And for those who aren’t hard-core fitness fanatics, it may mean the difference between continuing a workout regimen and abandoning all physical activity until the first thaw of spring.

Studies have found that the average person gains from five to seven pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. While some of that can be attributed to overindulging in stuffing, cookies and eggnog, some can also be credited to under-indulging in movement. Walking to the pantry to restock on chips and dip during halftime, for example, just isn’t enough to negate the caloric impact of those tasty treats.

“People who enjoy being physically active, or who use it as a way to manage stress, typically aren’t influenced by adverse weather conditions,” says Kwan Lin, owner and manager of Sports Hoop, Inc. who provides custom-weighted sports hoops. “Others might use cold temperatures or freezing winds as an excuse to skip a workout, and soon one day spirals into a week or more of missed exercise opportunities.

“The key is to find alternative workouts to your usual routine that are fun, invigorating and give you the same endorphin rush, cardiovascular boost and toning benefit,” adds Lin. “All it takes is a little imagination and a desire to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.”

So head indoors and check out the following activities that the whole family can enjoy:

• Swimming. An activity that can be done year-round, lap swimming offers numerous health benefits, according to the U.S. Water Fitness Association. Improved strength and flexibility, better muscular endurance and balance, improved circulation, and a stronger heart are but a few. Plus, it’s a terrific calorie burner at 563 calories per hour for a 155-pound person, when swimming freestyle using light-to-moderate effort.

• Ice-Skating. Many runners find ice-skating to be a lower-impact, yet equally effective, way to keep fit during the winter months. It works the legs, inner thighs, abductors, hamstrings and gluteal muscles – even arms, waist and abdomen – while being kinder on joints. The American College of Sports Medicine states that a 150-pound person burns approximately 600 calories for every hour of continuous skating, equivalent to running five miles an hour.

• Bowling. Although not normally perceived as a highly aerobic workout, bowling is a surprisingly good way to keep fit. According to a study reported in the California Bowling News, a Penn State nutritionist estimated that bowling can burn 100 calories for every 20 minutes of bowling – or 300 calories an hour. It also works muscles and joints, and keeps tendons and ligaments limber.

• Sports Hoops. Since the plastic Hula Hoop was first introduced in 1958, it has evolved into a popular, easily accessible and innovative form of exercise. When swiveled for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, weighted sports hoops can provide cardiovascular benefits, help tone muscles, burn calories and fat, and facilitate weight loss. Another plus is that they can be used in the privacy of your own home, while listening to music or watching your favorite television shows.

Article courtesy of ARA Content

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