7 Winter Workouts to Switch Up Your Routine
Don't get stuck in a workout slump just because you don't ski or snowboard. Try one of these fun exercises, like indoor rock climbing or rowing
Your spin class buddy has switched to snowboarding and strength training for the season, your best friend is cross country skiing every weekend through March, and your guy has traded the pavement for powder. Maintaining a regular workout routine during the winter can be hard enough, but when you're not a winter sports enthusiast, the sudden rush of ski bums can leave you feeling just plain bummed. Fear not, though! These outside-the-box workouts will help you stay slim all winter. Step aside, snow bunnies!
Get super sweaty and seriously toned with this cardio workout that tones muscles without weights or machines. Start with a beginners' class, where you'll learn the basics like proper stance, footwork, and wrapping your hands. Once you learn different moves, prepare to never be bored again: One day you may be in the ring, the next you might be sparring with a partner-the workout is ever-changing. If you really get into it, you may even want to purchase your own punching bag for days when it's just too cold to leave the house! (See 8 Reasons You Need To Punch Up Your Workout Routine.)
Bouldering and Rock Climbing
Don't be intimidated by monkey-like guys scaling walls faster than you can say 'Spider Man'. There are plenty of options for beginners: If you don't love heights, bouldering requires no harness and involves walls, caves, and rock-like structures that are lower to the ground. If you don't mind heights, rock climbing lets you be a little more daring, since you have more support, both in the harness you're strapped into and your belaying buddy looking out for you below. Both types of climbing use your full body-you'll especially feel the burn in your forearms, legs, and even core muscles used to help stabilize you.
Keeping your body in summer shape all winter long is easy when you workout like it's mid-July. Swimming is a total-body workout, in which you rely on all your major muscle groups to stabilize your body and propel yourself through the water. The water provides natural resistance, but you also get a major cardio workout-clock 50 yards per minute (totally realistic for most of us) and you'll burn around 550 calories in an hour. (You can Beat the Winter Blues with a 60-minute Interval Swim Workout.)
Forget any visions you have of strapping tennis racquets on to your feet and heading through the woods to get to grandmother's house. Modern snowshoeing is a social activity that's great for groups or just catching up with a friend. When done briskly, it feels kind of like hitting the elliptical and can burn more than nine calories a minute-almost comparable to jogging! Best part: You can do it anywhere there is snow, so you don't have to worry about driving to the gym in a storm!
Game of Thrones, Hunger Games, Brave-the bow and arrow has become popular enough that centers dedicated to the sport are popping up all over the country. So why not make it your go-to when chilly weather drives you indoors? Archery engages your back and shoulders as well as your arms, so after a few months of shooting, you'll have an upper body ready to rock halter tops and backless dresses just in time for spring. Pulling on the bow will also help develop stronger hands and wrists-muscles that are often forgotten in other forms of exercise.
Close your eyes and pretend you're out on the water. It's practically spring, right? Fine-we all prefer the real thing. But rowing machines are a great substitute for the season, and a great workout. Rowing's increase in popularity over the past two years means it's now almost as easy to find a group rowing class as spin. Plus, since most gyms have a rowing machine, you can easily hop on and get a quick and effective workout done in just a half hour. (See our Cardio Fast Lane: 30-minute Rowing Routine.)
Score a low-impact workout while you're enjoying the outdoors with a weekend of hut hiking. The all-seasons activity involves hiking on a designated trail from one hut to the next, where you can warm up, fuel up, and even stay over. Huts aren't just a cabin in the woods though: They often act as mini-lodges with restaurants and bars. Some have shared spaces, similar to a hostel, while others are private and upscale (with heated floors and hot tubs!). Depending on conditions, you can choose to wear special snow hiking boots, snowshoes, or cross country skis. No matter your footwear, your legs will feel the burn.