How to Burn More Calories in Winter

how to lose weight in winter

How to Burn More Calories in Winter

So many classic winter songs are about curling up inside and keeping warm with someone special. And bundling up in your favorite chair to make a little heat cocoon for yourself while you eat sweets and watch TV or read a book feels great. 

But if you’ve made a commitment to yourself to live an active lifestyle and stay in shape, your bundle of blankets isn’t going to help you achieve your goals. In fact, most people in America tend to put some weight on between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

If you want to maintain your weight or drop a few pounds, winter can actually be a great time for you! Whether you’re just getting started on a weight loss journey or you already exercise regularly, thinking about how to lose weight in winter can give your fitness goals a significant boost.

How To Lose Weight In Winter: Consider Your Fuel

Before we look at weight loss in winter, we need to make the point that diet is going to play a huge part in meeting your fitness goals. Just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean you should ignore good nutrition.

This is not to say that you should deny yourself delicious foods or eliminate variety in your diet or that you should be fasting. It is to say that you should be planning your meals and your workouts to ensure that you are able to burn more calories than you take in.

Generally speaking, you want carbohydrates before a big workout and protein afterward to help recovery. And throughout, you want to keep yourself hydrated and replenish your electrolytes. 

But if you are trying to keep active while drastically reducing the fuel that your body needs to operate as best as it can, you are doing yourself a disservice. Working out without adequate food consumption leads to severe burnout or overeating later to compensate.

So figure out what works for you. Give yourself the best chance to see the results you want by filling your belly with food that will help you meet your goals. 

Food in Colder Weather

One interesting aspect of food in the winter months is the way it can help warm you up. Thanks to a principle called thermogenesis, the energy used by your body to digest food temporarily increases your metabolism and generates heat.

It takes between a half-hour and an hour for the effects of thermogenesis to kick in, but it’s something to think about when scheduling meal time and exercise time—especially if you plan on exercising outside.

Working Out, Outside

Do you burn more calories in cold weather? Many people have asked that question, and a few studies have been conducted to try to pin down an answer. Generally speaking, the answer is yes.

The difference isn’t too drastic, though. Most of the additional calories are used for warming and adding moisture to the cold air you breathe in. If you are cold enough that your body’s shivering response kicks in, that will burn calories as well, but it also means that you haven’t been working out and are just standing in the cold.

Let’s say you’re a runner. The fact of the matter is that if you keep moving and wear sensible, quality cold weather workout gear, you’ll be able to stay comfortably warm as you exercise. Just make sure your shoes have good tread and will keep your feet dry.

If running isn’t your thing, but you still want to incorporate the outdoors into your workout, there are plenty of other activities that cold, snowy climates allow.

Active Winter Activities

When there is snow on the ground, there are plenty of great activities and useful chores that you can use to burn calories. All of the following activities have been shown to burn between 450 and 600 calories per hour. So if you’ve ever wondered how many calories does sledding burn, the answer is in that range.

Downhill and cross country skiing are both fantastic workouts and, much like ice skating, are a lot of fun. And it’s possible your kids won’t even realize they’re getting a good workout walking up to the top of the sledding hill over and over again because the ride down is such a blast.

Shoveling snow is also an incredible workout! But be sure to take time to stretch and warm up beforehand, especially if the snow is wet and heavy. The repeated lifting and twisting can be stressful on your muscles if you aren’t careful.

If the temperature is dangerously low or there is a windchill advisory, you should forego outdoor activities. Luckily, there are plenty of ways how to lose weight in winter, while you are spending most of your time indoors.

Working Out, Inside

From using workout videos and at-home exercise regimens to making the most out of your gym membership, there is a lot you can do inside to achieve your fitness goals. And unlike the outdoor options, these activities aren’t limited to how to lose weight in winter—they’re year-round options.

Some people have a hard time keeping up with an at-home workout routine, so taking advantage of a local gym or health club is the best option for them. They can do aerobic workouts, strength training, and more.

But perhaps the wisest choice to make for indoor workouts is to choose to get into racquetball.

Exercise Your Whole Body

Many gyms across the country have racquetball courts. It’s far more accessible than you may have thought. And all you need to get started is a racquet, some racquetballs, a pair of shoes for the court, and eye protection.

The physical benefits of racquetball go far beyond weight loss. The fast pace of the sport makes it an excellent aerobic workout. By its nature, the game requires fast changes in direction, which helps you improve your balance and agility.

Improved hand/eye coordination and strengthened core muscles are some of the other benefits of racquetball. Racquetball also helps keep your mind sharp and encourages strategic thinking and play. It is a true full body workout.

But to return to the focus on how to lose weight in winter, a moderate intensity game of racquetball can burn as many calories as any of the outdoor activities listed above in an average sized person.

As the intensity of play increases, so does the amount of calories burned. If you can play multiple times in a week and maintain a healthy diet, you can see major results within a few short months.

And, beyond the physical benefits of playing racquetball, the social aspect of the sport helps you form new relationships with people you may not have otherwise met. This can lead to close friendships and workout accountability buddies—people who can help you keep your exercise routine going consistently.

Cold Weather, Hot Bodies

Just because the temperature has dropped doesn’t mean you can’t reach or maintain your physical goals. There are so many great ways to stay active in the winter. Winter is a great time to live an active lifestyle, from outdoor activities and chores to indoor sports like racquetball.

No matter what you do as your main winter activity, be sure to keep variety in your workouts. Even with a workout as good as racquetball, you still want to add variety to your exercise regimen. 

Make time for strengthening exercises to build healthy muscles and flexibility exercises like yoga to keep your muscles limber and stretchy. These workouts will help your body recover from high intensity play faster and help you avoid injury.

As you get into the groove as a regular racquetball player, you’ll find a regular warmup and cool down routine that works for you, as well. Along with a sensible diet, these pre-and post-game exercises are a major factor in ensuring your weightloss journey is a healthy one.

So is racquetball a good workout? Yes! When you think about how to lose weight in winter, can racquetball help you hit your goals? You better believe it!

Racquetball is fast paced, fun, more accessible than a lot of people realize, and burns a ton of calories while improving your core strength, balance, and coordination. The social nature of the sport helps you form new bonds with people that share at least one interest with you. And you don’t have to stand out in the cold to play.

Check to see how many courts are available in your area and see how racquetball can help you reach your goals!

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