This February, use Olympic athletes as your motivation to move more.

Aerobic activity makes our hearts stronger and more efficient at pumping blood. Including year-round aerobic activity not only keeps our hearts healthy but our minds and bodies as well. Even during the cold winter months, it’s possible to exercise both indoors and outdoors.

As the temperatures continue to drop, it becomes less desirable to choose outdoor activities for exercise. With proper clothing, walking or running outside still is an option. Fun ways to stay active and get physical activity during the winter months include:

  • Playing in the snow.
  • Having a snowball fight.
  • Building a snowman or fort.
  • Sledding.
  • Shoveling.
  • Going ice skating.
  • Playing hockey.

Aerobic snow sports offer exciting options, too.

  • Cross-country skiing is a total body, low impact workout.
  • Snowshoeing is a sport similar to hiking. While wearing snowshoes, you can walk, run or hike.
  • Downhill skiing is the most common winter sport. It improves balance and flexibility while strengthening muscles.
  • Snowboarding increases coordination and strengthens leg muscles.

Each of these sports can burn 400 calories per hour with moderate effort.

For kids and parents who are new to aerobic outdoor winter sports, provides resources for all ages. There, you can learn everything you need to know about each sport before gearing up this winter. Online educational “tool kits” offer quizzes and games for kids and information for adults. Pre-sport exercises also are available as handouts to get bodies prepared for new activities.

In addition, check with your local recreation department for winter sports offered.

-Stacy Stolzman, MPT, physical therapist, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. She works closely with the NEW (Nutrition, Exercise and Weight Management) Kids™ Program at the hospital.

Learn more about Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin at

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