Fitness Tips & Workout Ideas

Why skiing and skating are a good winter running alternative

Running outdoors isn't always an option in the winter... that's why you should try these awesome, total-body winter workouts! These two activities are basically like cross-training for running, and they'll keep you in shape all season long.

When the weather gets in the way of your workout

Winter in Winnipeg this year has been all over the place. We’ve had some extremely warm days and some freezing cold days, too. And unfortunately this also means that the ground is slippery. The snow keeps turning to slush and then freezing over, making the sidewalks super slick.

Mr. Science and I were really looking forward to doing some winter running this year, but the terrain is just not very safe. Neither of us are comfortable with running in all that snow and ice. We could take to running indoors, but I certainly prefer running outdoors, and it’s so important to get fresh air all year long.

Although we do yoga most mornings of the week, and although we like to do some strength training at home, we really don’t want our bodies to forget about running until the ground is clear again in the spring. That’s one of the problems with exercise: you go without doing a certain type of exercise for too long, and it becomes hard to get back into it!

Best outdoor winter activities

Our alternative to running in the winter this year is to focus a lot on cross-country skiing and skating. Both of these sports are, obviously, perfect for doing in the winter months (since snow and ice are requirements!), and they can also get your heart rate up. I also love how skiing and skating use a similar striding / lunging motion to running, which can be useful for that muscle memory.

Running, skiing, and skating are all very different types of exercises, but they are all great forms of cardio training and are full-body exercises. Skiing and skating are basically like cross-training for running! Even if skiing and skating use different muscles than running, these two activities should keep us in good shape to get back into running when the warmer weather hits.

One of the other things I like about skiing and skating? They’re fairly gentle and low-impact. You aren’t constantly slamming your feet down on the ground, and the gliding motion has such a nice, pleasant sort of feel to it. You can really relax and observe how pretty winter can be while still going at a fast pace (and getting a great workout).

I really hope that next year we can do some outdoor running in the winter, but for this year, I’m content to wait until the spring to continue running. And I am loving all of the skiing and skating we’re doing!

Do you run outdoors in the winter? Do you like cross-country skiing and ice skating? Is there another winter running alternative you love? What’s your favorite way to stay fit during the winter months? Share in the comments section below!

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