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Find ways to work out without the gym this holiday season

Britta Schiemann | Fulcrum Contributor

Photo by Sean Campbell

No gym pass? No problem! With the winter holidays fast approaching, many of us will be going back home—and unless you’re from Ottawa, that means you won’t have access to the U of O gym for a couple of weeks. Unless your destination comes complete with a treadmill and a Bowflex, you may have to get creative to squeeze in your daily workout. Don’t worry, there are many things you can do over the holidays to get your sweat on and burn a few calories. It doesn’t have to look like a workout to actually be one—and let’s face it, the best forms of exercise are ones that are actually enjoyable.

Don’t dread the sled

Who doesn’t love acting like a kid, grabbing the toboggan, and hitting the hills for some good old-fashioned fun? The worst part of tobogganing when you were little was dragging your sled back up the hill. Now that you’re older, you can appreciate what walking uphill will do to your glutes. It’s a calorie burner too—one hour of tobogganing can work off 345 calories.

Every day I’m shovellin’

Got a snowy driveway? Instead of pulling out the ol’ snow blower, grab a shovel and get to it! Sure, it’s not the most exciting activity, but listen to your favorite workout playlist while you’re doing it and the time will fly by. If you stay out there for an hour you’ll blast about 408 calories, and your core will be sure to feel it in the morning.

Stack like a lumberjack 

Even though you’ll be sweating up a storm in your snowsuit, the house has to stay warm somehow! If your family’s home has a wood-burning fireplace, help chop and stack some wood. Your body will be burning up a storm after an hour—one hour of chopping, splitting, and stacking wood can burn around 650 calories.

Betty Crocker’s got nothing on you

Believe it or not, lots of baking can burn anywhere from 168–348 calories per hour—as long as you can resist snacking on your treats, of course. If you want to burn the most calories, use tools that make you work a little. A whisk or wooden spoon works your arms more than an electrical mixer, and of course you can knead your dough using your own (clean) bare hands and muscle strength. Your arms and traps will feel it the next morning!

Even though these activities won’t completely replace your workout, they will certainly hold you over until you’re back on campus—and if you’re spending some time with your family while you’re working out, then that’s just an added bonus.