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8 Great Things To Do Instead Of Staying At Home In This Cold Weather

8 Great Things To Do Instead Of Staying At Home In This Cold Weather

Winter is a particularly challenging time for those trying to keep their body in shape. The low temperatures tend to keep people inside most of the time, there is a lot of great food to tempt us during the holidays, and since we all wear more clothes that can easily hide those few extra pounds, we tend to become less concerned with the way we look.

If you don’t want to be one of those people who suddenly start obsessing about their weight when spring comes and people start wearing less and less clothing, then I suggest doing some outdoor exercises during the winter. A good workout doesn’t have to be a grueling experience and you don’t even need to find the extra time to drive to and from the gym—there are number of fun outdoor activities that are very effective at helping you lose that holiday gut. Besides, exercising outside in cold weather has some unique advantages: your body burns additional calories just trying to keep itself warm, and being active during the cold months also helps you keep all the nasty illnesses at bay. So, let’s look at some great outdoor winter exercises.

1. Running

Running is generally considered to be one of the best outdoor exercises—you can improve cardiovascular health, gain endurance or explosiveness depending on how you train, and develop some nice-looking legs. Running in cold weather can be a fun experience for a number of reasons: there are fewer people around to stare at you, the snow can add an additional level of difficulty, and you won’t overheat or dehydrate as easily as you would during the hot summer months. Besides these obvious benefits, there is something to be said about the beautiful look of a city covered in snow that people rarely take the time to appreciate.

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2. Cross-Country Skiing

One of the more physically demanding sports out there, cross-country skiing engages pretty much all the muscles of your body and requires some serious endurance. It’s a great sport to get involved in, but you can also just have a few friends come along for a fun afternoon without really competing against each other. You need to invest more money into this sport than you would with some of the other options on this list, but it is well worth it.

Cross country skiing

    3. Ice Skating

    Ice skating is great for everyone looking for a way to get some low-impact exercise—from toddlers to granddads and grandmas. It can greatly strengthen your legs, particularly the inner thighs that don’t really get worked too often, and won’t put any unnecessary stress on your joints—well, technically, you could fall, and wrist and ankle sprains have been known to happen, but as long as you are careful it is a pretty safe way to stay active during the winter.

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    4. Ice hockey

    If you live in a colder climate, there are few physical activities you can do during the winter that can come even close to the level of fun and conditioning that you will get from playing ice hockey. You only need a few pieces of equipment, some ice and a bunch of people who are tired of sitting inside all day, and you can spend a whole afternoon burning calories while having fun. After an hour on the ice you won’t need to feel bad for reaching for that big cup of hot chocolate—at that point you’ve earned it.

    5. Team snowball fights

    For those of you who prefer hanging out with other people and working with a team rather than going out for a long run on your own, a good old snowball fight can be a great way to get in some light to moderate cardio during the winter. You combine short bursts of running that give your legs a good workout with throwing motions that engage the arms and the core, which makes for a decent workout. This is probably the most fun of all outdoor exercises. Add to this the fact that snowball fights can last a pretty long time, since everyone is having a lot of fun, and you can end up burning up a good part of those holiday dinner calories.

    6. Pulling sleds

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    Pulling sleds

      If you have small children or you are visiting family members with small children, then there is no better way to have fun while getting a great exercise than pulling sleds. You basically just have a few kids hop on a sled, grab the rope and start pulling them across the snow. Your legs, core and upper body will all benefit from this exercise and you will build up some stamina as well.

      7. Hiking

      This form of exercise dates back to the very roots of our species, and was for a long time an integral part of our survival. The important thing to remember is to dress in layers, have good hiking boots and spend some time on preparations. A good long hike will tire you out quite a bit, particularly in cold weather, so it is good to have a bunch of snacks with you. The best thing about it is that you will be spending so much energy walking uphill with extra weight on your back, finding firewood and preparing a fire, plus having your body working tirelessly to keep warm, that you can afford to have a big meal when you set up camp. Be sure to pack a first aid kit, signal flare and several fire-starting options to keep things on the safe side.

      8. A friendly wrestling match

      Wrestling can tire you out pretty quickly, especially if you go all out and move fast. The great thing about winter is that there is a lot of snow that serves as a natural cushion for your falls, so you don’t have to worry too much about anyone getting injured. You don’t even have to know the first thing about wrestling—just grab your partner and try to off-balance them and bring them to the ground. Even a quick two-to-three-minute wrestling session will have you gasping for air and your muscles burning if you are not used to it.

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      These are some of the best activities that combine exercise and fun, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box and come up with your own unique outdoor exercise for the cold months. The most important thing is to stay active, stay healthy and avoid the near hibernation that most people fall into during winter.

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      Ivan Dimitrijevic

      SEO Consultant

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      Last Updated on August 15, 2018

      7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

      7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

      Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

      Video Summary

      Why is it important to train up our core strength?

      There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

      This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

      Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

      In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

      One Exercise, multiple benefits

      There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

      By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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      When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

      Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

      In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

      What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

      What will happen when you start doing planks every day

        1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

        Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

        • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
        • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
        • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
        • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

        2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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          Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

          Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

          3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

            Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

            4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

              Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

              A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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              A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

              On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

              5. You’ll improve overall balance

                Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

                6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                  Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                  7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                    Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                    How to hold a plank position

                    1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                    2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                    3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                    4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                    5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                    6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                    7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                    Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                    Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                      How to improve your plank time gradually

                      1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                      2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                      3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                      Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                      Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                      You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                      • Prolapse
                      • After prolapse surgery
                      • Pelvic pain conditions
                      • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                      • Previous childbirth
                      • Overweight

                      Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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