Outdoor Activities to Help You Trim Down the Holiday Weight

From moist turkey legs and mashed taters to butter-soaked veggies and pumpkin pie wedges, traditional holiday feasts are chock-full of edible items that wreak havoc on your slim figure (with or without gravy). Then there’s all the booze. This year, counteract some of the food-induced structural damage with an outdoor activity that burns calories and restores your body to its pre-November dimensions.

Bikram Yoga
Also known as ‘hot yoga’, Bikram Yoga is conducted in a studio that is typically heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit/40.6 degrees Celsius. According to AZ Central Healthy Living, a one-hour Bikram session burns roughly 475 to 530 calories per hour (a much higher caloric burn rate than traditional yoga disciplines). In addition to losing the calories, practitioners greatly increase muscle strength and flexibility, while the high temperatures release toxins in the skin that may lead to a clearer complexion. Unfortunately, Bikram studio membership can be quite pricy – but in terms of helping you slim down after the New Year, this relatively new form of exercise is very effective.

Shoveling Snow
Clearing snow out of the driveway or off your front porch is not merely a helpful gesture (though your family/roommates are sure to be appreciative). Shoveling snow is also a highly effective way to burn a large amount of calories in small increments of time. For instance, a 30-year-old man of average height and weight burns more than 400 calories per hour of shoveling snow; you can figure out your own caloric expenditure using this snow shoveling calculator provided by FitDay. To those of you lucky enough to enjoy year-round sunshine – well, you knew there had to be downsides.

If you want to a) take up a new winter hobby, b) burn a lot of calories and c) spend more time in the crisp outdoors, do as indigenous North Americans have done for centuries and strap on a pair of snowshoes. According to LiveStrong, an adult man or woman of average height and weight can burn up to 600 calories per hour during a snowshoeing trek, which dwarfs the rates of either walking or running on solid ground. Of course, this means that first-time snow-shoers may huff and puff a great deal during their introductory sessions. But we never said losing that turducken weight was going to be easy.

When the snow starts to fall, there’s nothing like dipping your toes in a heated pool and swimming a few laps. According to the Calorie Burn Calculator provided by HealthStatus, an adult who weighs 150 pounds can burn more than 800 calories in two hours of moderate swimming; an adult who weighs 200 pounds can burn more than 1,100 in the same interval. Adults who spend two hours engaged in ‘vigorous’ swimming can burn as many as 1,775 calories. In addition, Centers for Disease Control notes that swimming and other aquatic aerobics activities are extremely beneficial for individuals at risk for diabetes and/or heart disease.