9 Ideas for Winter Fitness on the Cheap
- Expecting freezing temperatures? Flood your backyard for a homemade ice rink.
- Shop online for winter sporting goods — think Craigslist, eBay, and FreeCycle™.
- Poke around thrift stores and garage sales.
- Rent equipment from your local parks and recreation department or sporting goods store.
- Share your gear with friends, neighbors, and family members —they might return the favor.
- Bid on winter sports packages at local charity auctions.
- Shop local team (hockey, skiing, skating) booster club sales for used equipment in good shape at a bargain.
- Gather 10 or more people to join you, and ask for a group discount on equipment rentals, lift tickets, or admission.
- Check out community coupon books that may offer steep discounts on admission to winter sports venues.
by Beth Shepard, M.S., ACE-CPT, ACSM-RCEP, Wellcoaches Certified Wellness Coach
Does a chill in the air and snow on the ground give you the shivers? Or are you overjoyed with news of fresh powder? If you’ve never been a cold-weather enthusiast, give Old Man Winter a chance this year. Bundle up and enjoy these high-energy activities to sustain your fitness level during frosty weather. They’re guaranteed to add excitement to your exercise routine — and a hearty blush to your cheeks.
On the Trails
- Snowshoeing — Explore backcountry forests or gad about a local park. It’s a great low-impact aerobic activity that targets the lower body while challenging the arms and building balance.
- Nordic skiing — For a vigorous, total-body workout that’s easy on the joints, exploring winter woodland on cross-country skis can’t be beat. Take your family for a fun, invigorating day together in the great outdoors.
On the Ice
- Figure skating — Glide your way to better strength, balance, and aerobic fitness. Lessons aren’t just for kids — grown-ups, too, can learn to stroke, turn, jump, and shoot the duck. Look for a learn-to-skate program at a rink near you.
- Speed skating — Got a fondness for high-velocity fun? Speed skating will channel your energy into a workout that builds aerobic power and endurance — along with some serious muscular strength.
- Ice dancing — Love to skate, but not into jumps? Learn to waltz, cha-cha, foxtrot, and tango on the ice solo or with a partner. Challenge your brain and body with this popular sport that combines dance moves, artistic elements, and ice skating technique.
- Ice hockey — Hit the ice for a fast-moving game of speed, strength, and strategy. Many local ice rinks offer beginning hockey lessons for all ages.
- Broomball — A combination of ice hockey and soccer, broomball is played on the ice with balls and special brooms. You’ll work both upper and lower body— and boost your cardiovascular fitness — with this easy-to-learn team sport.
On the Slopes
- Downhill skiing — Legs, hips, arms, chest, core, and shoulders work to keep you upright and heading in the direction with alpine skiing. Prepare for the season with a ski conditioning class near you and check out ACE’s Fit Fact, Get Ready to Hit the Slopes.
- Snowboarding — Like skiing, snowboarding works the whole body and is a great form of balance training. For best results, undergo a few lessons before taking to the slopes on your own.
- Sledding/tubing — It’s an easy ride down on a sled or a tube, but the walk back up the hill really targets your hips and legs. Dress in layers — you’re sure to work up a sweat!
- Telemark skiing —A hybrid of downhill and cross-country skiing, telemark skiing is also known as free-heel skiing, because the bindings allow the heels to come up off the skis. Mastering telemark technique, including stance and turns, will challenge your coordination and balance — and strengthen your muscles in both the lateral and frontal planes.
- Snow play —Building a snow man works upper body, lower body, and core, depending on the size. Throwing snowballs is a terrific shoulder workout. And even making snow angels will get your blood pumping.
Your health and fitness doesn’t have to take a hit when snowy weather arrives. Gather your friends, gear up, and head into the powder to enjoy some fun, calorie-busting sports — and make some great memories.
Exercising in the Cold – American Council on Exercise
Which Helmet for Which Activity? Consumer Product Safety Commission
Winter Sports Injury Prevention —American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons