The cheapest and easiest form of exercise has always been getting outside and doing something (anything).
But the motivation to do that tends to be rock-bottom when it’s rainy, sleety, and frigid. But with the influx of sweets and food brought on by the holidays and then the onset of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in mid-winter, being active is pretty necessary.
So what are your options for staying active during winter?
Not everyone has the resources – or health and/or location – to take a trip to the ski slopes. If you’re like us, riding you bike on the road is a slushy and wet undertaking.
There are options, though. And some of them will give you an opportunity to get out of the house without spending any money.
Which, if you’re like me, is pretty nice come January when I’m itching to have something to do. These will even work for social distancing!
Added bonus, most of these can be fun, especially if you get a friend or family member involved. Remember to wear masks if the situation calls for it.
Wintertime activities to stay active
1. Get your steps in at a public location – like the mall
It’s heated. There’s no weather. It’s free.
And frankly, in winter those are key aspects to why the mall is a great place to take a walk. If you go early in the morning, there is no crowd and you’re likely to see groups of other people doing the same thing.
Perhaps you can find a group of walkers to join that will keep you motivated.
Also, spending money is entirely up to you. Don’t buy the Starbucks and it stays free.
2. Use an at-home exercise app
I really like LazyMonster for my apple device. Or 7 Minute Workout for my Andriod phone.
But there are a whole worlds of apps designed for short at-home workouts. They usually have a free and a paid version (I find the free work just fine). Because they’re short you don’t have to worry about kids being too underfoot.
And they are 100% better than nothing!
Plus, the shortness almost make them fun.
3. Find a place with stairs
This is one of my favorites. And least favorites because of how easy it is to get too sore to sit.
You can do it in your own house if you have stairs or find a public building with stairs. Libraries, stadiums, bank complexes, etc are good examples.
Word of warning: START SLOW! Like, 5 minutes a day slow. Then build up from there.
Your thighs will thanks me.
4. The ultimate winter activity – go sledding
Yes, this one is dependent on snow.
But I can guarantee there is a free sledding hill somewhere near you. And if you have snow you have cold weather gear.
Pack up the family and a few thermoses of hot chocolate, head to the sledding hill, and haul yourself up and down that thing a few times. I guarantee you’ll feel as exercised as a long run on a summer day.
Your family will have a blast, also!
5. Dance your winter blues away
If you live somewhere where indoor dancing is a thing (dance club, gym, community center) get out and sign up for a class.
If you don’t have those resources available, there are always DVDs you can rent from your local library.
Or YouTube is a tremendous source of videos.
But no matter which option you follow, dancing is usually indoors and a fun way to get your heart rate up for a little while.
There are SO MANY organizations looking for volunteers. And some of those of those volunteer opportunities involve physical activities.
Cleaning your church. Shoveling the parking lot snow at your kids’ school. Loading and/or distributing boxes at a food bank. Walking dogs! Who doesn’t love walking dogs?!
Honestly, there are so many opportunities in so many different fields. Figure out where your passions lie and call one of the organizations in that area.
If you chose to use traditional exercise outdoors…
There are still some things you can do to exercise traditionally in the great outdoors during winter.
- Bundle up in winter-appropriate clothing
- Use a head lamp if you’re going in the afternoon
- Check the weather first
- Change location if there’s a layer of ice on the road
Bringing it all together
You don’t have to hibernate all winter.
I mean, I think winter is nature’s way of telling us to take it easy. But don’t take it TOO easy. There are a world of options to stay active and have fun even if it’s snowing or frigid outside.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money.
You just have to be willing to spend a little bit of the cozy time being up and about. I find that I feel even more cozy after I’ve taken the opportunity to move. It’s like a warm fuzzy reward for doing something good and healthy.
Don’t forget it. Pin it!