Icy exercise alternatives

Brianne Carlon

Winter activities help keep off extra holiday pounds

Kathleen Smoot, freshman exploratory major, skates at the Kent State Ice Arena yesterday. Smoot has been skating since the age of 10 and now skates about four or five days a week to keep in shape. The price of admission to public skating at the arena is

Credit: Ben Breier

As the end of the semester approaches, there is probably one thought on your mind – relaxation! Finally, the school work is done and the couch is calling your name. You deserve it!

But remember, too much lounging in front of the television and not enough physical activity might lead to unwanted weight gain. Luckily for you, there are some fun ways to keep your body in shape over the cold winter months without spending hours at the gym.

While the snow may not be much motivation for a workout, it is all the inspiration needed to strap on a set of skis and head for the slopes.

“You are always on your legs, going off jumps or pushing off,” said Cody Risker, senior aeronautical studies major. “It is non-stop movement so it is a good workout for your quads, hamstrings and abs.”

Risker has been skiing for eight years and goes about 25 times a year. He plans to head to Colorado for skiing over the holiday break.

“When you head out west, you have to work out more before hand,” Risker said. “I have been working on my quads because there is more snow out west and you have to work harder.”

Risker said he is always sore after his first outing of the year, which is evidence of a good workout.

If skiing is not your idea of a good time, why not try ice skating?

According to www.adksportsfitness.com, ice skating is a good activity to both tone the body and build cardiovascular fitness.

“The calories burned in one hour of ice skating can be compared to an hour of jogging – but without the impact on the joints,” according to the site.

Major muscles in the lower body, including the buttocks, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and abdomen, are targeted during ice skating.

For better balance and a better workout, just extend the arms. This increases the heart rate and works the muscle groups in the shoulders, back, biceps and triceps.

“Ice skating is a nice, enjoyable activity,” said Bill Switaj, general manager of the Kent State Ice Arena. “You can be out with friends, listening to music.”

Switaj compared ice skating to a fast walk, which is a good workout if you do it for a couple hours.

Beginners can take Learn to Skate lessons offered at the ice arena that teach basic skills, such as forward and backward skating, stops and turns. Adult classes are offered Thursdays Dec. 15 through Feb. 18 (no class the weeks of Dec. 22 or 29). The cost is $60.

For those who want to step up the work-out, try hockey.

“Anytime you get into a game and start competing, you are going to be working out a lot harder,” Switaj said. “Hockey also works the upper body in addition to the lower body.”

The ice arena also offers classes for hockey skating; however, skaters must be proficient in forward and backward skating and turns before attending.

The lessons are also offered on Thursdays and cost $80.

Finally, playing in a broomball league is a great workout, Switaj said.

Switaj compared broomball to running on the beach. The traction adds to the workout, he said.

No matter what winter activity you choose, just remember to layer up, and don’t forget gloves!

Contact features reporter Brianne Carlon at [email protected].