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Winter activities that keep you in shape

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To many of us, winter is symbolic for sitting at the fireplace, sipping on hot cocoa and snuggling under a warm cozy blanket. However, as nice as that sounds, it's hardly a motivator for exercising, especially when temperatures dip down low enough to the point that people want to stay indoors. So if you're one of those who lack enthusiasm when it comes to braving the cold, try embracing it by taking advantage of some great cardiovascular activities the cold weather has to offer.

If you have the means and opportunity to go, cross country skiing is a wonderful outdoor activity for anyone who likes a challenge. It's fun, exhilarating, refreshing and stimulating. In case you're wondering about the energy expenditure, you can burn up to whopping 545 calories an hour going at a moderate intensity.

Similarly, snow shoeing is another challenging winter activity. Also requiring an abundance of snow, you simply just slip the "snow shoes" onto you feet and walk over the snow. Incidentally, this activity also burns 545 calories an hour.

Ice skating is another suitable winter activity that is both fun and challenging, not mention more accessible to many people since you can find ice skating rinks in practically any nearby city or town. Of course, if you've never or rarely skated in the past, it will take some time to acclimate yourself to balancing and gliding across the ice. Going at a moderate intensity, you can burn up to 500 calories an hour.

If you're not up for any of these challenges, merely taking a brisk walk in the cold crisp air can do you a lot of good as well. According the the mayoclinic.com, walking 3.5 miles per hour can burn about 314 calories.

Last but not least, if you're happen to live in a region where snowfall is common, break out that shovel! Whether you realize it or not, shoveling show is more than just a chore. It's an activity that requires a lot of strength, endurance and energy that can burn up to 408 calories an hour. Be cautious though, especially if you don't exercise regularly and/or if you live a sedentary lifestyle because you can easily overexert yourself without realizing it.

NOTE: Make sure you get medical clearance before trying any new exercise or activity, and/or if you are starting a new workout regimen. If you feel abnormal pain or discomfort, stop and contact your health care provider.

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