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Keep Your 'Get Fit' Resolution With Winter Sports

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MORGANTOWN -

The countdown to the new year is fast approaching, meaning many will be making their yearly resolutions. Each year, many resolve to get in shape.

Some anguish at the idea of hitting the gym, but the good news is there are other options. Last week we showed you how martial arts can be a fun and exciting way to stay active. This week we discuss how winter sports like skating and skiing are more than just fun family events.

"Skating surprisingly works the legs," said Michael Bloom a BOPARC Ice Rink employee. "Hockey players come during public session and just skate to work on leg strength. And actually it's just a good exercise for kids who just want to have fun."

A weight room is not the appropriate place for an 8-year-old but the ice rink is.

An interest in the skating can lead to playing hockey, speed or figure skating, but don't think that adults don't belong there.

"At first the parent just want to make the kids skate, and then they realize this looks fun," said Bloom. "They come up to us and are like ‘can we get skates too?' You actually have a lot of fun watching the parents because they think it's easy and they have a hard time."

Skating is a lifetime sport that builds endurance, balance and strength.

"It's so unnatural, you just glide," said skater Aaron Holley. "You push off and glide. It's different than walking and running, because when you walk or run, every step is high impact."

Low impact means the exercise is easier on your joints. A West Virginia University professor said that ease alone could be motivation to choose skating.

"A lot of people who are overweight or obese have difficulty with high impact activities," said College of Physical and Sports Science professor Sam Zizzi. "So lower impact activities that they are comfortable with, they are more likely going to be more motivated to do them, and they're not going to be painful so you may be able to do them longer."

Many winter sports like skating and skiing sound like fun family events for a Sunday afternoon, but don't discount what they can do for your health.

"They're going to provide the same type of full body exercises as other sports," said Zizzi. "You're just limited to a certain time of year. But anything that motivates you to be physically active should be considered a good thing."