Boost your mood with an outdoor winter workout

Researchers say to enhance your mood and get the most out of your workout, head for the great outdoors, despite dips in temperature. A new study published February 4 supports what many outdoor fitness buffs know already: that exercising in a natural environment boosts mental and physical well-being compared to indoor workouts.

The study, appearing in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, analyzed data from a number of sources including 11 control trials incorporating information from 833 adults. Results revealed that outdoor exercise enhanced "greater feelings of revitalization, increased energy and positive engagement, together with decreases in tension, confusion, anger, and depression," states a news release.

SparkPeople.com, an online healthy living community, is also encouraging people experiencing winter weather to layer up and get outdoors to ward off seasonal depression and benefit from calorie-burning-efficient winter sports.

Here are some activities that will keep you sweating no matter how freezing the temperature, provided you have the right gear:

Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing top the list, both burning 510 calories per hour.

Most interesting is broomball, similar to hockey but with a broom and no skates, which burns up to 470 calories per hour, slightly beating out ice-skating (450/hr) and ice hockey (380/hr).

Family activities like sledding and hiking in the snow burn between 445-455 calories an hour.

Spark.com measured the calorie count with a female weighing 145 lbs. (66 kg), and according to Military.com, a US military and veteran online community, if you are a male around 190 lbs (86 kg) you can burn about 200 more calories during the same hour of activities.

Spark.com's complete list of winter activities and calorie counts: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/slideshow.asp?show=37

Military.com's physical activity/calorie chart: http://www.military.com/military-fitness/weight-loss/want-to-lose-weight

 

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