Winter weekends can be tricky for those who like to stay (at least somewhat) active.
We always have high hopes of an outdoor adventure, but when it’s finally the weekend, the idea of sleeping late and taking it easy is especially enticing. After all, it’s rather cold, daylight is limited, and we’re tired from the weeklong work hustle.
We often forget that we can have both! You don’t have to sacrifice a lot of rest to stay active.
Like most things, a balance of the two is usually the most pleasant. The term athleisure comes to mind—a mix of sport and relaxation.
Whether you’re an urbanite or a little more rural, we have a few suggestions to get moving without a grandiose physical commitment. Here are some of our favorite, low impact winter plans:
Big Breakfast to Snowshoe Trek
Just because you don’t live in the mountains doesn’t mean you can’t snowshoe—it’s surprisingly prominent throughout the country, even in parts of the Midwest.
If you want to spend the morning sleeping in, and enjoying your breakfast, then we suggest looking into this winter sport. Unlike skiing, snowshoeing doesn’t require you to be an early riser to make the most of your day. As long as you have the space to trek, you can leave for an outing at any time, and it can last as long or as short as you like.
It’s also a great way to stay fit. Depending on the terrain, speed, and your weight, snowshoeing can burn anywhere from 420-1000 calories-per-hour.
While it’s a great workout, snowshoeing doesn’t typically leave participants drastically winded. It’s a sport that allows you to take in a beautiful winter scenery, while enjoying conversation and staying social, making it a favorite for families and friend groups.
It’s also safe, easy to learn, and at only 20% of the cost of alpine skiing equipment, not a huge financial commitment.
Slopes to Après-ski
This classic pairing is one of the more fun ways to spend a winter afternoon. Whether you live near a ski resort or are thinking of taking a vacation, skiing is equal parts active and social.
No matter your skill level, skiing is a great activity to stay healthy during the winter. It involves a great deal of balance and coordination, strengthens bones and joints, and increases cardiovascular endurance.
Skiing also improves proprioception, or “one’s ability to feel the position of different body parts and the effort that goes into moving them.” An example would be knowing the position of your feet, even if your eyes are closed. Activities like skiing help your mind and body stay sharp, and lessens the chance of proprioception weakening with age.
After a few runs, duck into the lodge to warm up and grab a drink. It’s a great place to catch up with friends who may be on different runs, or socialize with people you haven’t met before.
Skiing may be on the expensive side, especially if your plans require air travel. But it’s a hobby that offers enormous physical benefits, along with connections and opportunities that can last throughout your life.
Hot Yoga to Brunch
For those who live in a city, the fitness-class-then-brunch routine is probably familiar. It’s a common favorite, low-key weekend routine because it lest you move your body without straining your mind.
We love yoga year round for it’s osteopathic, or self-healing, advantages. Some of the physical benefits of yoga include an improvement in cardiac health, flexibility, respiration, and weight loss. Mentally, the calming effect and clarity of the mind keep us practicing as often as we can.
During the winter, opt for hot yoga. The seasonal switch is a perfect complement to any quest to keep warm - and you'll likely be hooked.
Classes in 95-degree heat may sound intimidating, but opening your sweat-ducts is good for you! The higher temperature forces your heart to work harder to maintain homeostasis. That means that you’re cleansing your system, improving your heart health, and decreasing and removing cellulite. The added heat also helps to strengthen your white blood cells, which improves your immune system and helps fight off the all-too-common winter cold.
With the growing popularity of our beloved CorePower Yoga, a class in your area might be closer than you think.
Take Your Pup to the Park
This is the easiest way to get up and get moving without a lot of planning or commitment. We realize that a leisurely stroll may not sound very relaxing when it’s cold outside, but embracing the spirit of winter has notable benefits.
Unlike sweltering hot summer months, a brisk walk is energizing and rejuvenating. By simply being outside in the cold, your body burns slightly more calories. According to a study conducted by the University of Utah, your body is working harder to keep warm, causing a small uptick in the basal metabolic rate, or the calories burned without expending any energy.
Plus, there’s nothing more adorable than dogs playing together at the park. While you wait, the sun exposure will help to maintain healthy levels of vitamin D. Even with dense cloud coverage, your body can absorb the benefits, and drawbacks, of sun exposure (so don’t skip the sunscreen!).
By getting outside and stretching your legs, you (and your dog) will enjoy a much more peaceful weekend.
Have another idea? Drop it in the comments! Whether you decide to sleep in or venture out, give yourself a chance to relax and enjoy your winter weekends.