Biking and Hiking
This article discussed mainly snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Many people, however, don’t live near snow or go on snow vacations, but still enjoy exercising outdoors. Mountain biking and hiking are two excellent wintertime outdoor activities that you can do almost anywhere.
Mountain Biking: Mountain bikes have large-tread tires that provide good traction on wet, icy or snowy roadways. Some people even ride them on ski slopes. If you plan to ride seriously, consider buying a good-quality bike at a reputable cycling store. Wear a helmet, and you might also consider purchasing riding pants and cycling shoes.
Ride at a moderate intensity for 30 minutes. Find a safe place to ride, and wear clothing that motorists can see easily. It’s best to begin on level ground until your fitness improves. Later, vary the workout by including hills. When you finish, rest for 20 to 30 minutes and finish the workout with 30 minutes of cycling interval training.
Cycling Interval Training: The second 30 minutes of cardio cycling uses interval training to boost caloric consumption and aerobic capacity. Ride at 90 percent effort for 2 minutes followed by 1 minute of slower riding. Repeat this sequence 10 times for a total of 30 minutes of interval cycling. For variety, do your intervals uphill, adjusting the riding time according to your fitness and motivation.
Hiking and Walking: These are popular exercises that you can do with family and friends. Back pain researchers found that brisk walking is one of the best ways to prevent and treat back pain. Walking is also a great fat-fighter and a terrific way to begin an exercise program.
Buy a good pair of comfortable walking shoes that support your feet. Wear appropriate clothing for exercise (shorts and shirt). Consider wearing long pants and a long-sleeve shirt if it’s cold (i.e., fog at the beach) or you’re threatened by biting insects. Also, don’t forget to apply sunscreen with an SPF value of at least 15. Several companies make spray-on sunscreen products made for use during exercise.
Ankle weights or weighted vests increase calories burned during walking. Researchers from the University of Colorado, Boulder found that wearing weights on the ankles burned more calories than wearing them on the waist or thighs. Waist or thigh weights increased metabolism but not as much as ankle weights. EMG— a measure of the electrical activity of muscles— showed increase leg muscle activation during ankle loading. Caloric consumption increases by 30 percent wearing a backpack with a load equal to 20 percent of bodyweight. This study showed that the metabolic cost increases disproportionately when the load is added to the extremities. Weighted walking increases the caloric cost of exercise, particularly if you wear the weights on your ankles. Wearing weights on your ankles and wrists will increase the calories you burn during walking but are optional for this program.
Walk briskly for 30 minutes, and swing your arms as you walk. Walk at the fastest pace you can comfortably carry on a conversation or try to walk fast enough that you reach your target heart rate (55 to 90 percent of maximum heart rate).
Outdoor Holiday Exercise
This year, don’t sit next to the fire all day watching movies. Instead, go outside and do something active. Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, mountain biking or hiking are excellent activities that will increase fitness and cut fat.