Oct 17, 2011

Top 5 ways to stay in shape during Winter (Photography made the list!)

What is your favorite way to get that much needed exercise outdoors during the winter months? 

All too often I hear people grumbling about how much they "hate Winter, nothing to do, can't wait til Spring, are sick of shoveling, getting fat and lazy, have to put off the exercise routine and wish they lived somewhere else...."  Since Winter is right around the corner, let's chat.  First off, this blows my mind.  How can someone strongly dislike one of the greatest seasons of the year??  I'm bias of course, so after taking a step back and before shipping them out of my home State of Utah, I usually reply that "they just need to find something that is FUN, something they can enjoy".  I reassure them that it (fun) is out there to be had for everyone and will usually result in great way to stay fit!

So, let's hear it!  For those of you who stay active outside all winter, what do you do?  Ski? Snowshoe? Nordic ski? Snowboard? Ice hockey? Run?  Ice Fish?
(Fact: 100% of all ice fisherman consume more calories than they burn, so scratch that off the list)

My top 5 ways to stay active during Winter (outside):

From photographing winter sports and lifestyle imagery in the Wasatch mountains to the breathtaking scenics and landscapes of Bryce, Zion and Arches down south;  I don't have to stray far from home during the winter months in Utah to take pictures.  So how exactly does photography keep me in shape? Find something you love to do creatively and you'll be amazed at how motivated you are to climb, bike, hike and haul yourself to the best place to do it. The pure addiction of capturing beautiful imagery constantly keeps me exploring even when the days are short and temperatures cold.  My sports photography usually requires a combination of keeping up with elite athletes and hiking into pristine locations all while porting way too much gear on my back.  It's a full body workout to say the least!  But even when I head out for a relaxing landscape shoot, my mind is looking for subjects and colors, shapes and textures, light and compositions.  I'll be pushing a 160 heart rate for an hour and not even realize it because I'm sidetracked with my adventure to find the perfect image.  So find a creative outlet and you'll stay active and in shape as result.

At least once a week, I like to head to the hills on shoes and explore nature at a slightly slower pace.  This is your ultimate stair stepping machine for you gym folks; a great way to burn a huge number of calories and get a full body workout.

Kids love snow! Their enthusiasm for the white stuff will quickly spread as you bundle them up and roll around with them.  The heart gets pumping quickly when trying to keep up with my two kiddos romping around in the snow.  Sledding, Snow angels, Building igloos and Snowman; it's endless fun and activity.

Nothing else out there will keep the thighs toned during the Winter months all while keeping a grin on your face quite like a chest deep powder turn.  Get out to your local ski resort or into the backcountry for a truly refreshing and rewarding workout.  One of our local resorts here in Utah, Alta, has a 'Ski Free after 3' program every day on Sunnyside lift.  So don't let cost get in your way here.)

There's something purely magical about taking a walk while gigantic snow flakes gently fall all around you.  Just pull on your down puffy, hat, gloves and boots step out the front door and into a blanket of whiteness for a few miles.  Make sure to have the hot chocolate boiling and fireplace stoked for your return home.

Errr not. Shoveling my driveway did not make the top five list, but it is a solid full body workout, for those curious.  And my wife's favorite!

If you still can't find anything good to say about winter, then yes, pick up and move! :).  Okay, I guess you are free to jet to your second home in the tropics and work on your tan.  But rest assured, you. will. be. missing. out.

So, what is your favorite way to stay in shape during the Winter?  Comment below!

-Kevin Winzeler
Commercial Photographer in Sports, Active lifestyle and Outdoor work

-The right gear makes all the difference.  Most people avoid winter activities because they tried 'it' once and were too cold or uncomfortable.
-Be prepared.  Make sure you check the local snow and avalanche reports to avoid any areas of danger - Utah Avalanche Center and REI put on some excellent courses to help learn about the backcountry here locally.

About the pictures:
This photograph was taken in Park City, Utah during a commercial winter shoot for Columbia Sportswear.  For inquiries regarding licensing an image or hiring Kevin for an assignment, please send an email to "info (at) kevinwinzeler (dot) com" or call 801-319-8023.  You will be replied to immediately.  We look forward to working with you!

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