The middle of winter is here and there is nothing to fear; rather step up and get into winter exercise. Yes, we want to stay in where it is nice and warm so we can indulge in our favorite winter snacks that make us feel comfort, but we need to take advantage of our beautiful winters especially in the Midwest and even farther north such as Canada and even the East Coast.
Taking part in winter activities will keep us physically active and keep striving to new fitness goals, and two great sports to get involved in are ice skating and cross-country skiing. For many years these sports have been a great family venture to take part in together and now they are hardly heard of anymore. Ice skating and cross-country skiing can lead to so many great health benefits and really help lift those winter blues along with reaching more and more health and fitness goals such as weight loss and toning.
Ice skating and cross-country skiing have some of the many benefits that have been misunderstood over the years such as great aerobic fitness, muscular endurance which triggers muscles that have hardly been used before along with core and balance. For many people that are into summer sports such as cycling or marathon running, taking part of a winter sport is important for staying in shape in the form of cross training.
Let’s take ice skating, for instance. Ice skating is all about learning balance on the skates and incorporating the muscle groups that will help with the movement such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, abductors and adductors, calves (gastrocnemius), along with the core and even the upper body muscles such as the pectoralis, deltoid and latissimus dorsi to help with the movement as well. One does not have to be a professional hockey player to be an ice skater, but one can still learn how to skate and have a great workout in a fun, free activity and you will notice the little muscles that you hardly every use the next day, such as the intrinsic and stabilizers that support and help move the body.
Another great winter sport to get involved in is cross-country skiing. This is a great aerobic sport that does not only let you get your aerobic benefits, but it triggers muscles that you thought you never had, especially working the quadriceps, hamstrings (Bicep femoris), glutes, abductors and adductors along with the calves or gastrocnemius. Most importantly, this form of exercise can work on balance and training the core muscles and the upper body movements are much more involved with the ski poles that are used in the skiing motion, rather than ice skating, with the pectoralis major, deltoids, biceps and triceps brachii and the latissimus dorsi muscles that help with the motions of cross-country skiing.
Do not be intimidated, as these can be new forms of fitness new to you but make sure to find the right place that will give you instruction on buying ice skates or cross-country skis. Make sure to always find a professional in this line for advice.
Easy workouts you can do to prepare or while mastering the art form of ice skating or cross-country skiing are:
Overall Body Exercises: Chest Press, Shoulder press, Back Rows, Lower Body Squats.
Core: Abdominal Crunches on the Exercise Ball, Leg Raises (lying on the ground), Low Back Extensions with the machine or Roman chair extension.
Aerobic: Let the winter fun of becoming an ice skater or cross-country enthusiast become natural and ongoing for weight loss.
And you will be successful…