A Millennial's Guide to Burning Calories over the Winter Holiday
Although there are some months left before having to worry about your beach body again, this doesn't mean you are allowed to indulge yourself in endless nights out, partying, drinking, and satisfying your munchies with pizza leftovers and burgers.
Yes, the holiday season unofficially started right after Halloween, with most retailers switching pumpkins for Christmas tree decorations, tinsel, and sparkle. America's famous pumpkin spice latte was already replaced with a cup of hot cocoa or delicious mulled wine, while Christmas markets lure you with their wide selection of decorations, homemade goodies, and unique presents for your family.
Although December is the month when most of us feel weak against the constant temptations, there are still various easy ways to get through the season without gaining more than a few pounds. Here is how to stay in shape and have fun with your best friends or family at the same time, the winter holiday edition.
Whether we're talking about the iconic Central Park ice-skating rink or the one from your local town, there are few winter activities as demanding as ice skating. The sport is not only good for your legs but also for your heart, arms, and lungs, as it forces you to do some cardio and pump more oxygen into your lungs to keep up the pace.
Granted you're not looking to become the next Michelle Kwan, you're still looking at up to 700 burnt calories for one hour spent on the rink. So, grab your best friend or your significant other and spend some magical moments trying to keep your balance on the ice.
Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean you need to be stuck in the house, potato-couching and binge-watching Christmas movies on Netflix. If you live close to the mountains, any short hiking trip will do to burn the extra calories and stay in shape. Depending on several factors, you can get rid of up to 650 calories in one hour of hiking.
However, don't overdo it and never go on dangerous paths. Bring special winter hiking equipment and plenty of water and food supplies, even if you plan a short trip. Extra rope, a flashlight, insulating equipment, and a lighter are also mandatory in case of emergencies. Stay safe at all times and count on your strength to get back home instead of waiting for Santa's helpers to come to the rescue.
Who knew that keeping your alley and the front of your house clean can burn up to 500 calories per hour? Bring your shovel and start getting rid of the extra snow for a full-body workout that would make even jocks jealous.
Shoveling the snow represents the perfect opportunity for at least half an hour of cardio, intense shoulder and arm workout while focusing to keep balance on your feet and not fall on the ice.
The good thing is that there are plenty of houses in your neighborhood looking for similar treatment, so you're looking at a full weekend of exercising, breathing fresh air, and even earning some extra pocket money for your Christmas presents.
Walking the dog
One hour of mild exercising with your dog outside burns up to 470 calories, enough to feel less guilty over that extra glass of wine or beer you had for dinner. Doing this constantly will positively impact both you and your pooch by losing weight, staying in shape, and improving your bond.
So, next time you take your dog out to the park, don't just sit on the bench while letting it loose - run with it, play fetch or frisbee with it, and even find the biggest snow pile and dive in it. Your pet will adore every moment spent with you while you'll have a reason to pass some of the holiday chores or spend less time in front of your computer.
Stay in the gym
A glass of eggnog listening to Christmas carols may seem like a fun way to spend a night off but, enjoyed too much, it will lead to weight gain, regrets, and tears coming down your cheeks as you write your New Year's resolutions.
Most gyms are open for the holidays and even offer special discounts to their boxing classes, yoga, Pilates or swimming, especially to encourage people to lose some of the weight from all that turkey stuffing and barbeque. Sure, you're not going anywhere in a top of the richest boxers by training once in a Blue Moon, but you'll stay in shape and improve your eye-hand coordination at the same time.