It can feel really hard to stay active during winter. On the surface, hibernating inside seems more appealing than going out for a walk or run. Not to mention, the sun practically sets before dinner, making active time outside in the evening nearly impossible if you work during the day. As much as I love living somewhere with 4 very distinct seasons, getting fit during winter is definitely more of a challenge. To be honest, I struggle more myself during the winter. The sunlight helps me to feel peppy and upbeat, but on darker days it can be a challenge. If this sounds familiar, read on for my favorite tips on how to stay fit during the winter!
How to Stay Healthy and Fit During Winter
Staying active during the winter takes a conscious effort, but physical activity really does boost your mood, and many of us NEED this during the dark and cold winter months.
Physical fitness is a huge part of health, but of course, keeping your diet in check during the holidays (eating plenty of vegetables and fruits) and staying well rested during the hustle and bustle of the season will also serve you well. However, while eating a healthy diet may be more of a challenge around the holidays, finding the time or resolve to exercise can be elusive, especially if you are used to outdoor exercise.
Winter Exercise Ideas
Exercising in winter months may not always seem fun, but it can certainly be done. These are some of my favorite winter exercise ideas and tips to ensure you stay moving even when it’s freezing cold outside!
8 ways to keep fit outside the gym this winter:
1. Outdoor Winter Workouts
- Cross-country skiing
- Downhill skiing or snowboarding
- Ice skating
- Playing in the snow with your kids, nieces, or nephews. (I’m not sure there is any calorie burn as real as walking up a snowy hill for a quick sled down.)
2. Sign up for a winter race.
There are still plenty of 5Ks and even longer runs such as 10Ks or half marathons in the winter. Races such as Turkey Trots, Jingle Bell Runs, and St Patrick’s day runs are incredibly popular and perfect ways to stay motivated! Chances are that run won’t be so elusive if you have a goal you are working towards. The BEST way to actually follow through with a race is to SIGN UP FOR IT. Seriously, signing up when you set your goal and paying the money invests you.
3. Participate in indoor sports.
Join a basketball or hockey league at your local community center or local school to participate in team sports. This can benefit not only your fitness life but also your social life as it’s a great way to meet other people with similar interests.
4. Exercise at Home
If you really don’t want to get out, just stay home and exercise inside! Buy some dumbbells (I love my Bowflex adjustable set) and do some strength training. Or, if you don’t have any weights simply do these exercises you can do anywhere.
Be sure to check out my post on ways to start exercising at home for more ideas.
5. Try Hot Yoga
Winter is the perfect time to try out a hot yoga class at your local yoga studio (which technically isn’t a gym.) If you find it too hard to convince yourself to go outside for a walk or run (or your temperatures are seriously incredibly low), then hot yoga may sound appealing and will certainly provide a really good workout!
6. Walk at a local mall or school gymnasium.
Often, you can find a school or even a local mall you can walk for free. Turn on your favorite podcast, audiobook, or playlist and get in some brisk walking!
Winter Fitness Tips to Follow Through:
We all know it takes more than big ideas to actually follow through and stay fit during the winter.
1. Make a Plan.
You need a solid plan in place to ensure you will follow through when you have trouble finding your motivation to exercise.
- Plan out WHAT you will do (choose a few of the winter activities above that you can use to stay fit this winter).
- Choose HOW OFTEN you want to exercise or participate in a winter activity such as ice skating with your kids.
- Figure out WHEN you will have time to do these activities. Consider what activities you want to try and what days/times will work best for each activity. (For example, ice skating with your kids once a week will likely involve a different plan than attending a hot yoga class at your local studio.)
2. Find Your Support.
A workout or running partner can be key to holding you accountable for attending a new class or going for a cold morning run. And of course, having your spouse on board with your fitness plan is huge.
3. Write it Down.
Write down your goals and mark your calendar. There is power in writing something and even more power in reviewing it often. Post your goal or calendar somewhere you can see it frequently.
4. Show up for yourself.
Lately, I’ve been learning about the importance of showing up for myself in many different areas of my life. Exercise and personal care are two areas that can be so easy to flake on ourselves. However, once you start to SHOW UP for yourself you learn that you are dependable. You find ways to continue to show up for yourself. It can be hard at first to establish this relationship, but it’s crucial to success in any area. For more on the importance of showing up for yourself, check out Rachel Hollis‘ book Girl Wash Your Face.
How to Stay Fit During the Winter
Staying fit during winter may not come as naturally as other seasons when we find it easier to spend time outdoors walking, hiking, and biking. However, with a little work, planning, and creative thinking, exercising in winter months is definitely doable. As the temperatures start to get a little colder, go ahead and make your plan for winter activity now. Staying active during the holidays will benefit you by helping you to feel more energetic and prevent dreaded holiday weight gain.