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February 2006

Winter Work-out

Winter sports are a great way to get into shape

The most tempting activity when it’s cold outside is to race to the bottom of the chocolate box. But forget fitness hibernation during the colder months. Winter sports mean healthier hearts and stronger bones. What’s more, they enhance sleep and reduce the winter blues, a condition marked by fatigue, junk-food cravings and mild depression, brought on by shorter daylight hours and the cold weather. “It is important for people just to get out there,” says personal trainer Hillary Coley. “Winter sports help you stay fit, escape boredom, get some fresh air and stop people getting depressed when it is dark. Why stop exercising now just because it is winter?” So get off the couch and try out some of the following:

Cross-country Skiing The winter version of Nordic walking is one of the most intense workouts you can get in the snow. What’s more, it runs a lower risk of causing serious injury and is more affordable than downhill skiing. The basic skills are simple enough for a novice to pick up; more aggressive athletes can add speed and power. Climbing an incline or ploughing through fresh snow will rev up the intensity.
Cross-country skiing is a great cross-training activity that will work every muscle you’ve got, boost cardiovascular fitness and burn roughly 572 calories an hour. The sport is especially good for the hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteus muscles and triceps. Cross-country skiing can also help improve your balance, coordination and agility. Serious exercisers can use the skating technique, while beginners and intermediate skiers can cruise along with one foot gliding behind the other, yet still get a good workout.
Where to go? Try Schlosspark Nymphenburg or the English Garden if you want to ski in the city. Otherwise head out to Ruhpolding’s 50-km route:; or try Inzell’s 45-km track: Alternatively, check out Mittenwald, which offers a 110-km track:

Downhill Skiing burns an average of 429 calories per hour. Compared to the endurance required for cross-country skiing, downhill is more like strength training. Alpine skiing strengthens your legs and upper body and improves balance.
Where to go? Spitzingsee has 25 km of slopes, Lenggries-Brauneck, 34 km and Sudelfeld, 31 km. For all three, see

Snowboarding is one of the fastest-growing sports. Advocates say it is simpler than skiing: there are no poles, and the learning curve is faster. Snowboarding works your hamstrings, quads, calves and core muscles. It also hones balance. It’ll burn about 425 calories an hour.
Where to go? Try the Zugspitze at Garmisch-Partenkirchen:

Ice Skating Gliding across the ice can deliver a sense of freedom along with a good workout. Ice skating boosts your endurance and the better you are, the more aerobic benefits you’ll get. It is good for your abdominals, calves, gluteus muscles, hamstrings and quadriceps. Other pluses: skating helps improve balance and coordination and burns around 500 calories an hour. You don’t even have to do any jumps or spins—skating around the rink for an hour is enough.
Where to go? Check out the rink at the Prinzregentenstadion (Prinzregentenstrasse 80), where free ice-dancing lessons are given on Sundays at 10 am. Public skating sessions also take place at the Olympia Eissportzentrum (Spiridon-Louis-Ring 25) and at the two Eis- und Funsportzentren (Staudingerstrasse 17 and Agnes-Bernauer-Strasse 241).

Sledding is definitive proof that exercise can be fun. All that climbing uphill delivers a powerful workout with a built-in reward: the ride down. On average, people will burn 500 calories an hour. “This is a sport that the whole family can get involved in,” says Coley. If you throw in a snowball fight and build a snowman, so much the better!
Where to go? Popular routes include: Bad Tölz—Blombergbahn; Tegernsee—Riederstein; Tegernsee—Neureuth; Schliersee—Alte Spitzingstrasse. For more information, see

Snowshoeing The mountains always look prettier when they’re covered in snow, and strapping on a pair of snowshoes can give you a glimpse of their less-traveled expanses. “A lot of people like snowshoeing more than skiing, as they have more control,” says Coley.
Even a moderate walk is good exercise because the snow offers resistance. You burn around 572 calories an hour. If you add poles, snowshoeing can be a total-body workout, like cross-country skiing. Deeper snow and more challenging terrain increases the intensity.
Where to go? Any good hiking trail will make a good snowshoe route as long as it has a few inches of snow cover. You can find good trails at Grainau, Berchtesgaden and Oberaudorf. Check out for further information.

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