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A brisk wind did little to deter noontime walkers Monday at Red Wing’s Bay Point Park. Cold weather doesn’t have to mean weeks of being trapped indoors or exercising at the gym. (Republican Eagle photo by Michael Brun)

Exercise like a true Minnesotan

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With the polar vortex gone and reasonable temperatures back in the forecast, Minnesotans can return once again to enjoying those outdoor winter activities.

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For some the idea of bundling up and going out into the cold air and snow is anything but enjoyable, but with the right preparation, outdoor exercises can be a safe and fun alternative to being stuck in the gym.

Weight-loss support club Take Off Pounds Sensibly has the following suggestions to help kick start an exercise routine this season:

•Ski across a winter wonderland

Cross-country skiing is a great way to get toned while also enjoying the outdoors, according to TOPS. The exercise works several muscle groups — shoulders, arms, back, chest, abs, buttocks and legs — and burns up to 500 calories per hour.

•Fun with family and friends

The beauty of winter is that nature supplies plenty of exercise “equipment” free of charge. Snowfall means snowball fights, snow angels and building snowmen, which, depending on intensity, can each burn 200-300 calories per hour for a 150-pound person.

•Shovel snow (carefully)

“Choose this task over snow blowing to burn around 300 calories per hour,” TOPS says. Of course, people with back and joint problems, heart problems, high cholesterol or who smoke should be sure to take it easy. TOPS recommends pushing snow with a shovel instead of lifting it if possible, and to take frequent breaks.

•Skate your way to slim

Ice skating is a low-impact exercise that can improve balance and strengthen core muscles. A high-intensity session can burn up to 500 calories per hour.

The Red Wing Athletic Field offers open skating on the lower rink. The warming house is open now through Feb. 18 weather permitting. Hours are 4-8 p.m. weekdays and 1-8 p.m. weekends.

•Zoom down the hills

Nothing beats sledding for a fun-filled family outing. That trek back to the top of the hill can be grueling, but TOPS says it’s a great leg workout that burns 400 calories per hour.

•Keep safety in mind

The bitter cold is gone for now, but dressing appropriately is still important for spending time outdoors. TOPS recommends dressing in layers and making sure hands, feet and head are covered.

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Michael Brun
Michael Brun is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls journalism program. He has worked for the Republican Eagle since March 2013, covering county government, health and local events. 
(651) 301-7875
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