| Feb 23, 2010
Think your winter workout routines are tough? For pro athletes, getting in top form means not just long hours in the gym, but sweating it out in the cold day after day. You may not be training for a major competition, but that doesn't mean you can't be inspired!
FIGURE SKATING: Calories burned per hour: 460*
How it works: Chances are, you've been watching figure skaters jump and twirl since you were a kid. Jumps are done by pushing off the front of the skate—otherwise known as the toepick—and landing on one foot. Step sequences and spins are also required elements.
Where to start: Okay, so you're not exactly going to whip out a double axle at your local ice rink. Fair enough. But get fit with this winter exercise by putting on a pair of figure skates (hockey skates work too) and getting out on the ice. Pump your arms as you skate for a full-body workout.
ALPINE SKIING: Calories burned per hour: 400
How it works: Athletes ski downhill as fast as 80 mph on a designated course, maneuvering around a series of gates until the finish line.
Where to start: Sure, going full speed down a mountain is extreme fitness, but you don't have to take it to that level. If you live near a mountain, rent skis, poles and a helmet, and sign up for a lesson (Be prepared for the bunny slope!). Want similar results without braving the elements? Head to the gym and tone up with leg presses and lifts, plus squats.
CURLING: Calories burned per hour: 265
How it works: A team of four slides a 42-pound rock down a rink and "sweep" the ice to control the speed at which the rock moves.
Where to start: Get some friends together for a game of broomball—a game played much like hockey but without the skates. Here's how to do this winter exercise: Split into teams of six, and try to get a small ball into the other team's net using a "broom" (a specially-designed stick with a rubber head).
SPEED SKATING: Calories burned per hour: 800
How it works: Out of all the different Olympic workout routines, speed skating is one of the top calorie burners, but it's hard to maintain (You wouldn't sprint for an hour on a track, running, right?). Skaters circle a track on an ice rink and reach speeds of up to about 40 mph, pushing their legs out to the side and swaying their arms for momentum.
Where to start: Speed skating is intense, so take this extreme fitness workout down a notch and try rollerblading. You'll work the same muscles but don't have to worry about crashing down on the ice.
SNOWBOARDING: Calories burned per hour: 485
How it works: Snowboarding is another one of the Olympic workout routines that packs a major calorie-burning punch. There are different events, including the slalom, half-pipe, and snowboard cross, which is basically an all-out race downhill.
Where to start: If you're into extreme fitness, rent a board and sign up for a lesson—just be sure to wear a helmet and wrist guards (and be prepared to be sore for a few days after). Or, if you're looking to get the workout benefits of snowboarding without actually hitting the slopes, focus on leg lifts and other lower-body strengthening routines like running up stairs and squats.
BOBSLED: Calories burned per hour: 460
How it works: Athletes in teams of two or four line up next to the sleigh, then push the sled off with a running start while getting inside one by one. Once everyone's inside, the goal is to steer the sleigh while remaining as aerodynamic as possible—not an easy task when you're going up to 90 mph on a banked, ice track.
Where to start: Try some old-fashioned sledding. You might not burn too many calories sliding down a hill, but you'll get a cardio workout and tone your arms dragging the sled back up to the top!
*Estimates of calories burned are based on a 145-pound woman.