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No Excuses

Stay Active During the Winter from the Office to Outdoors

Sarah Cutler

January 1, 2013


It’s winter. The air is colder, it’s dark outside earlier and longer, and there may or may not be snow on the sidewalk—but don’t let that prevent you from keeping up healthy habits and activities. Below you will find tips to stay active this winter season, whether you’re stuck in the office or in the great outdoors.

In the Office
Exercise Ball

Try sitting on an exercise ball at your desk. Your body will attempt to stay balanced while sitting on the ball—it is constantly making small adjustments, some unnoticeable, which results in exercise of your large, core muscle group.

Calorie burn may be small (roughly 50 calories an hour), but adds up, and in the end is much higher than sitting on a regular office chair. Add leg lifts and bouncing, which comes naturally with up-beat music, for additional calorie loss.

Treadmill Desk
To break up eight hours of inactive sitting, start answering phones and doing computer work while walking at a treadmill desk. Keep it slow to maintain the ability to work and not sweat. Even at an extremely slow pace, a treadmill desk will knock off approximately 100 to 130 calories an hour.

If you opt-in for a treadmill desk, make sure to wear comfortable shoes and appropriate clothing that works for the office but won’t chafe.

Under-desk Exercise Cycle
This mini bike, consisting of a pair of pedals attached to a flywheel with adjustable resistance, doubles for lower- and upper-body exercise. For your lower body, place it under your desk and pedal away. For your upper body, place the mini bike on the desk or a table and pedal with your hands.

The low–impact workout achieved from an under-desk exercise cycle results in approximately 120 calories burned every 20 minutes for a 135-pound individual.

The Great Outdoors
Snowshoeing

Rent, buy or borrow a pair of snowshoes, put on some warm, water-proof clothing and get your hike on for a fun, high-calorie burning outdoor activity. Snowshoeing can burn more than 600 calories an hour and is an activity great for the family, a date or a simple escape from routine.

If you fall in love with this easy-to-learn sport, take it up a notch and trek through the backcountry (with the appropriate gear) or get competitive and enter snowshoe races.

Cross-country Skiing
Among the advantages of cross-country skiing is the freedom to access the outdoors at your own pace without paying an expensive fee or waiting for a lift. Additionally, boots are lighter, soft, more flexible and only go up to the ankle; and skis are narrower than downhill skis.

When cross-country skiing, the basics and rhythm to keep in mind is kick, stride and glide. It helps to keep your knees and ankles flexed and upper body forward.

The average person burns 400 to 500 calories per hour while cross-country skiing at a slow, leisurely pace.

Running or Walking
For a super low-maintenance and quick outdoor activity, consider walking or running. Throw on shoes with good traction, dress in thin, moister-wicking layers instead of a bulky coat, and if you decide to walk instead of run, grab a pair of ski poles to help keep your balance and burn extra calories.

Choose layers based on degrees. From 32 degrees to 20 degrees: use a hat, light gloves, a base layer and running tights. Twenty degrees to 10 degrees: add a jacket and heavy gloves. From 10 degrees to minus 10 degrees: include a neck gaiter, a face mask, two base layers and winter running pants

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