Looking for new ways to get outside this winter? These winter activities will give you a great workout while letting you enjoy the great outdoors! Especially in Alaska, it is easy to get stuck in the winter blues. Getting outdoors and trying something new with friends, family, or even by yourself, can inspire you to break out of the blues. Check out the five activities below to learn about a new winter workout!
Leg day and you don’t feel like hitting the gym? Try snowshoeing! Once you get them strapped on, snowshoes can take you to beautiful snow-filled destinations that are otherwise inaccessible while giving you a great workout. A study from the University of California Berkeley states, “Depending on how long you walk and the terrain you choose, snowshoeing can provide a good aerobic workout, often more strenuous than walking. Walking in snowshoes at 3 miles per hour burns about 350 calories in an hour.” It is also a low impact activity, so it can be better for those with joint injuries. Costco, Sportsmans Warehouse, Alaska Mountaineering & Hiking, and REI all sell snowshoes. If you are planning to take up snowshoeing, try it out at a local trail!
Another great leg workout, ice skating is a great way to get outdoors during short winter days. Head to a local lake or outdoor rink to skate about. When skating on lakes be especially cautious, open water and ice fishing holes can sneak up on you and it is wise to skate with a buddy. It is also fun to bring hockey sticks and pucks and play pickup games with friends and/or family. Some local skating spots to go in the Anchorage area include Cheney Lake, Mulchaey Ice Rink, Potter Marsh, Westchester Lagoon, Jewell Lake.
Cross country and downhill skiing are awesome activities to keep busy during wintertime. Both are calorie-burning workouts that will leave you sore. From Anchorage to Matsu, there are a variety of cross country trails. Hilltop and Alyeska resort are great downhill skiing destinations. Girdwood also offers wonderful cross country trails with magnificent mountain views. Skiing is a healthy activity that has terrific benefits for your body. According to a Time magazine article, “All types of downhill skiing (and cross-country, too) offer cardio-metabolic benefits, including improved insulin resistance, body composition, and glucose metabolism, as well as a drop in blood pressure, blood lipids and heart rate.”
Although hiking is commonly thought of as a summer-only activity, it is also a wonderful winter exercise. Clear winter days can bring views that will astound you, and you don’t always have to travel super far. Check out our article on hikes from Eagle River to the Valley for some awesome year-round hiking spots. Winter hiking requires a bit more preparedness than summertime. It is recommended to wear multiple layers, wool socks, gloves, and a warm hat or headband. I always wear Kahtoola’s (microspikes that go over my shoes) while winter hiking, microspikes, and cleats are a big help when on ice or slippery spots. I think winter sunset hikes are especially beautiful, below is a video from a recent hike up the butte!
Fat Tire Biking
A popular winter exercise, fat tire biking is a hardcore version of summer biking. The tires are larger, the temperatures are colder, and the biking is harder! Healthyway says, “Believe it or not, studies have shown that you can actually burn more than 1,000 calories per hour while riding a fat bike. That is an incredibly high number and a testament to how much work it takes to keep those large wheels rolling.” Now that is a workout, and it will leave your legs burning. If you want to try out fat tire biking before investing in a bike, Alaska Bike Adventures offers guided tours. You can even fat tire bike on a glacier – how cool is that!!
Live Breathe Alaska hopes one of these activities sounds fun to you! If you try these activities or other wonderful winter activities out, share your adventure with us via Instagram or Facebook. We hope you have an amazing 2021!!