If you’re like most people, the winter months are the time you’d rather retreat to the refuge of comfortably heated rooms and a less active lifestyle. The result, of course, is that you’ll have to scramble to look your best by the time spring and warm days roll around again and, it’s no longer possible to hide all the weight you’ve put on under bulky winter clothes.

The solution is to find ways to remain active even during the worst of the cold weather season. Keep reading to discover 12 practical tips for keeping active when it’s cold outside.

1. Don’t Want to Leave your Home? You don’t have to!

It can get brutal outside, making it unsafe to enjoy any outdoors time. Extreme cold, storms, icy conditions – are all excellent reasons to stay inside. This doesn’t mean you can’t stay active.

There are many ways to productively exercise at home and enjoy the benefits of physical activity and maintain your fitness until the sun returns.


Calisthenics exercises are a fantastic way to stay active and improve your fitness at home. Push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, and even running in place will all:

  • Improve muscular strength
  • Build cardiovascular fitness
  • Burn the excess calories you’ve eaten over the holidays

There are many wonderful resources online that will show you how to start a program of calisthenics exercises, a few of the best are ExRx, YouTube, and Livestrong.

Invest in a Treadmill, Rowing Ergometer, or Stepper

For those of us with the money to invest in ourselves – buying a piece of indoor cardio equipment is a brilliant way to stay active regardless what the weather is like outside.

The advantages of owning your own cardio equipment are obvious. Forget about getting to the gym, waiting for it to be available or dealing with someone else’s sweat all over it. Best of all, you can exercise in front of the TV and catch up on the news, episodes of your favorite shows or enjoy a great movie – while burning calories and toning the body.

Get a Fitness DVD like Zumba

There are hundreds of fantastic aerobic dance workouts on DVD that will turn your living room into a fun exercise studio. Set up the surround sound, move some furniture out of the way and benefit from the benefits of high-energy music and cardio-building dance moves.

Some options to check out are:

  • Zumba, with its sexy Latin rhythms and combination of calisthenics and dance moves
  • Kickboxing cardio workouts
  • Specialty videos that use ballet, jazz or tap-dancing to teach you new and fun ways to be active this winter.

2. Try Something New

There are many options to stay active outdoors even when it’s below freezing. If you haven’t tried a cold weather sport before, then this winter could be a great time to explore the options you have available.

Try getting friends and family together for a weekly get-together at a local ice skating rink. Ice skating will tone and strengthen the legs, improve your balance, and raise your metabolism as your body burns more calories to stay warm in the cold.

Skiing and snowboarding aren’t just fun; they’re an opportunity to enjoy the fresh mountain air and get away from your mundane everyday environment. Schedule a few trips over the cold season to revel in gorgeous views, fun times, and get out of your living room to genuinely enjoy the winter.

3. Be More Flexible

Winter is typified by sudden changes in the weather. Conditions can rapidly go from clear blue skies to blizzard conditions in a matter of minutes. We can easily convince ourselves to cancel any plans we had when conditions change. Instead, be flexible enough to have alternative options available that can save the day.

Ice skating canceled because of a sudden storm? Maybe there’s a roller skating rink nearby where you can still enjoy an active day out. Has inclement weather kept you from getting in some jogging? Use the time you had set aside for some other indoor fitness activity.

4. Be More Active during Your Day

From taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator to parking farther away from shopping or the office; there are many different ways to stay active until park and beach season returns.

Be creative. If the weather allows, why not use part of your lunch break for a relaxing walk? Recent studies have demonstrated that sitting for extended periods is as much a health risk as smoking, so why not try getting a standing desk? Even if a standing desk isn’t possible, you can cut down on your sitting time by simply standing up every time you speak on the phone.

5. Change Your Outlook

Winter is a state of mind. We all associate summer with fun days outdoors but typically see winter as a time to hibernate with long evenings spent over meals and sitting with family in front of the TV. Try changing how you think about winter to make sure you maintain a healthy level of activity.

Sure, beach trips and barbecues are fun, but what about snowball fights and building snowmen?

It just takes a change in how you see winter. Instead of just focusing on big holiday meals, cuddling on the sofa, or sitting in front of a warm fire – think about wonderful winter walks, exciting trips to the mountains for hiking, skiing, snowboarding or a fun day sledding in a local park.

Building a snowman with family or your significant other can become a cherished memory and keep your body moving.

Get Outside

Finally, the best way to ensure that you stay active when it’s cold outside is to just get outside!

Find any excuse to get out the front door and into the brisk air of a winter day. Revel in the absence of heat and humidity. If the indoors is still where you’re happiest – reconsider the choice of indoor activities. A movie or TV show is as much fun on a treadmill as it is on the sofa (but you’ll feel better about yourself an hour and a half later).

Change your mind about cold weather and enter the summer with great memories, better self-image, and a healthier and more attractive body.

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George Citroner

GW Citroner is a Hudson Valley, NY based writer whose work has appeared in over 20 publications and on an incredible range of Health & Wellness topics.

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