Building a snowman works your muscles while you're having fun.

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Story highlights

Ice-skating and sledding are fun ways to burn calories

Sports like downhill skiing and snowboarding also give you a workout

You can also build a snowman or cut down your own Christmas tree  — 

When it comes to the winter holiday season, we’ve got some good news and bad news.

As everyone knows, this is the traditional time of the year when we celebrate with food, food and yes, more food – meaning the calories (and weight) can pile on if we’re not careful. That’s the bad news.

But the good news is, there are many activities that we do during the holidays that basically double as workouts – without us even knowing it. And isn’t that the best way to get in exercise anyway?

When you’re planning your family fun for the holidays, sneak in a few of these fun-filled calorie-burners:

1. Ice-skating. Can you believe that ice-skating for an hour can burn more calories than playing a game of hockey? Who knew?

2. Cutting down your Christmas tree. Splitting wood is a killer core workout, and even though cutting your own tree isn’t quite the same, you’re still going to use muscles you don’t normally use. Dragging your new tree from the woods and strapping it to your car will surely get your heart rate up, too.

3. Building a snowman. Remember how you always broke a sweat when you built snowmen as a kid? There’s a reason for that: You were working pretty much every muscle in your body. Now you can enlist your own kids to get the whole family active.

4. Downhill skiing and snowboarding. If your holiday plans are taking you to the slopes this year, you can feel good knowing you won’t be missing your time at the gym. You may think you’re just having fun shredding the slopes, but you’ll also be burning plenty of calories – anywhere from 300 to 450 calories an hour, depending on your fitness level.

5. Sledding. Yes, you read that right. Even sledding in the snow can double as exercise. After you rip down that hill full speed, you have to schlep back up – sled in hand – and that’s quite a workout!