Winter Olympic Sports That Are Also Great Workouts

The twenty-third Olympic Winter Games kick off in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on February 9. The games may be half a world away, but it won’t feel that far since they’ll be taking place in a familiar landscape of ice, snow, and freezing mist.

If your usual winter workouts have got you feeling a little burned out, you might consider trying one of these cool winter sports, or bringing some of its training regimen into your life. The winter sports below have great strength and cardiovascular benefits, and are all great ways to have fun outdoors while soaking up that winter light.

Alpine Skiing

Vigorous downhill skiing includes both aerobic and anaerobic activity, making it a great cardio and strength exercise. It helps you become more balanced, flexible, and agile, and as any avid skier will tell you, it’s a real adrenaline rush. Want to train like a downhill racer? Try these strength, agility, and conditioning exercises that build your core, improve your balance, and increase your endurance.

Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-country skiing may be one of the best workouts going—it builds strength, endurance, and burns calories like you won’t believe. Even better, you don’t need a mountain to do it. All you need is snow. Want to train like a cross-country skier? It takes a combination of interval training, strength training, and distance training.

Ice Skating

Think figure skating is mostly an artistic sport? Think again. It takes power, stamina, and a super strong core. Not to mention endurance, flexibility, agility, and balance. And speed-skaters have pretty much the same skill set, except with longer skates and even more monster thighs. Training like a figure skater means building strength in just about every muscle group You might practice Pilates or yoga for balance and flexibility, or take ballet for coordination and strength.

Hockey

Strength, coordination, endurance, speed—hockey is a great workout for your whole body. Just keep that stick low and stay out of the penalty box. How to work out like a hockey player? Build endurance and explosive strength in the gym. And a lot of the same training figure skaters do can help hockey players to get in shape, too.

Sledding

Sledding might not seem an obvious choice for a great workout, especially if you don’t have access to a great luge or bobsled track. But if you’re going downhill sledding, you’re going to have to climb back up that hill, which builds strength and endurance. For an extra-tough workout, push or pull a sled while someone (or some weights) ride along. It’s a surprisingly tough workout, especially for your legs and core.

Whatever workout you decide on, make sure you’re dressed appropriately and understand your risk for frostbite. If it’s just too cold for you to brave the outdoors, take your workout inside—and cheer on our Winter Olympic hopefuls while you’re at it. Go, Team USA!

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