The Winter Olympics have kicked off, which means it’s the perfect time to celebrate winter fitness and athletics. Living in Michigan presents the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the weather and the many winter sports available. You don’t have to be an all-star athlete to participate and find a new winter workout.
Here’s a list of Winter Olympic sports that you can try during this snowy season.
A luge is a small sled that an individual rides on down a 1,000 to 1,500 meter track. The rider lays back and plunges feet first. Luging joined the Olympics in 1964. In the Olympics, there are both single races and doubles races. For each hour of luging, a 150 pound person burns nearly 500 calories. Michigan is home to one of four luge tracks in the United States, including the only track that is open to the public. Head on over to the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex’s luge track and give this fast-paced sport a shot.
- Ice Hockey
Ice hockey was recognized as an Olympic sport way back in 1920. Detroit is home to the beloved Red Wings hockey team, earning the city one of its nicknames, “Hockeytown,” and instilling a love for the sport in many Michiganders. Each hour spent playing hockey, a 150 pound person will burn nearly 530 calories. Lace up your skates and gather up your friends for a little puck time.
- Figure Skating
Figure skating was introduced at the Summer Olympic Games in 1908 before moving to the Winter Games in 1924. Ice skating with friends or a special someone can be a lot of fun. Plus, a 150 pound person will burn 460 calories every hour from ice skating. Try to add a little flare to your experience by performing a twist or small jump for extra points. With numerous ice rinks around Michigan both indoor and outdoor, you’re sure to find your inner Olympian.
The sport of curling officially became an Olympic sport in 1998, though it’s been around for a few centuries. Curling involves players pushing a rock on a sheet of ice, while the “curler” sweeps to guide the granite rock. If the average 150 pound person were to curl for an hour, they would burn approximately 270 calories. There are curling clubs in Midland, Kalamazoo and Detroit so get ready to slip and slide those rocks toward your own gold medal.
Whether it’s downhill skiing or cross-country skiing, there are numerous locations across the state of Michigan where you can practice your ski skills. At the Olympics, there are four different types of skiing events: alpine skiing, freestyle skiing, ski jumping, cross country skiing. Alpine skiing, also known as downhill skiing, has been an event at the Olympic Games since 1936. Alpine skiing for one hour can burn nearly 400 calories. Another popular skiing event that you can participate in easily is cross-country skiing, which has been a part of the Winter Games since 1924. While cross-country skiing for an hour, you can burn more than 525 calories.
Snowboarding was first added to the Winter Olympics in 1998. Events include races and freestyle competitions. Snowboarding involves riding down a snow-covered slope with your feet attached to a single board. For each hour of snowboarding, you can burn around 400 calories. Head out to your nearest ski area or resort to test out your skills on the board and see if you’re the next Shaun White or Chloe Kim.
Biathlon is a unique winter sport that combines cross-country skiing with shooting. Participants cross-country ski to designated target areas and stop to shoot at a series of targets. It was brought to the Winter Olympic Games in 1960. A biathlon athlete can burn over 950 calories each hour of racing. Of course, the longer and faster you ski, the more calories you’ll burn. Some areas around Michigan offer courses to practice your biathlon skills.
- Nordic Combined
The Nordic combined event mixes cross-country skiing and ski jumping. It’s been part of the Olympics since the Winter Games started in 1924. Technically, athletes participate in two events: a cross-country ski race and a ski jump. Whoever earns the most points from both competitions combined wins the event. Currently, Nordic combined is a men’s only competition, but starting in 2022 women’s competitions will be added to the Olympics. To find out how many calories you’ll burn participating in Nordic combined, calculate how long you plan to cross-country ski and how long you’ll ski jump and add those together.
Don’t just be a viewer from the couch snacking on chips during the Winter Olympics this year; get outside and experience some of these amazing sports yourself. You don’t need to be a gold medal winner to have fun and get a great, calorie-burning workout.