I’m not sure I can fully describe how much willpower it takes some days to get off the couch and put on workout clothes in the winter.
Until I actually start my workout, I’m just freezing cold and wondering why on earth I left the coziness of the couch! But then I get moving, start warming up, and end up feeling so much better than before.
It can be hard to stay active in the winter when it’s dark by dinnertime and the air is so cold that it hurts to breathe when you’re outside. I find it extra important to stay active in the winter so that I can control my weight, maintain physical strength, and most important to me: improve my mental health and confidence.
So what are some ways to stay active in the winter? I’m so glad you asked 🙂
13 Ways to Exercise in the Winter
1. Indoor Pool
Swimming in a heated pool in the middle of winter feels amazing! Look for a gym with an indoor pool or a community center with open swimming hours.
Last winter, we were staying at an apartment complex that had an indoor pool and it was such a treat to be able to use it.
2. Start an Indoor Workout Routine at Home
I have a workout routine that I do all year round indoors, so the winter doesn’t make too much of a difference for that which is nice.
You do not need a whole bunch of equipment or a gym to get a good workout in. I have some dumbbells and resistance bands. I mostly do bodyweight strength exercises and have made a lot of progress.
Start your own indoor workout routine to exercise this winter! Take a look at my 20-minute workout routine here.
3. Play a Just Dance Video Game
I love the Just Dance video games. They are a fun family activity and get your heart rate way up if you do a bunch of songs in a row.
They make them for most video game consoles, so if you already have a console, get yourself one of the games.
4. Walk Inside
I love walking. There are options for walking indoors when the weather is bad.
Most of the malls around us open before the shops do and you’ll find many people walking the mall during the winter. An indoor track at a gym or community center may also be available to you.
My mom used to work inside a very large building and she would spend time at lunch walking down down the huge hallways to the factory areas and back.
5. Join a Team
There are adult teams for many indoor sports. Some of them are competitive teams. Other places have open nights where you make teams out of whoever shows up that night and play for fun. Sports like indoor soccer, volleyball, and basketball are most common.
6. Take a Class
I signed up for a ballet class in the fall that has gotten me moving! My sister-in-law has gone to hot yoga classes.
Some yoga studios require a membership, but they may also have a small price for drop-in community classes. There are community fitness classes and even some churches that host Zumba nights.
If you start looking, I’m sure you’ll find many classes available in your area.
7. Use an Activity Tracker
Just having a device that monitors your movement can get you motivated to do something.
Since Austin sits all day for his job, he wears an activity tracker that will vibrate if he has been sitting to long without getting up to stretch and take a break.
You might think that you’re getting in a good amount of steps each day, but the activity tracker will help you stay honest with yourself. 🙂
There are some beautiful ones that look like a nice watch or a piece of jewelry. I love the Nokia watches and the Bella Beat trackers. Both might have made it onto my Christmas list…
8. Stretch in the Morning and Evening
Incorporate a few minutes of stretching into your morning and evening routines.
Stiff joints don’t react well to icy sidewalks. It might prevent you from injury and will help you relax.
9. Use an Exercise Bike or Treadmill
Get an exercise bike or treadmill.
We have an exercise bike that we’ve had for years and we love it. (This is the exact one we have) Ours is completely silent so it doesn’t bother anyone trying to watch TV. In fact, we have it in our living room and often take turns in the evening riding it while we watch a show.
You could even make a rule that the TV can’t be on unless someone is riding the bike. That’ll get your family moving!
10. Make Room for Activity
I’ve found that we’re more active when there’s space to be active. If your house is packed with clutter or just a lot of furniture, then there’s no space to sit on the floor and stretch or do some other exercises.
It’s really nice to have some open space in your home for the winter when you’re cooped up indoors a lot. Consider freeing up some floor space by moving furniture around or getting rid of some pieces entirely.
In the book The Joy of Less, Francine Jay does an amazing job of explaining that our homes should be for living, not storage. We’re more likely to pursue an activity when there’s always clear space available. (Highly recommend that book by the way!)
11. Turn on Music
I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but get moving when there’s some fun music playing.
Listen to music while you get ready in the morning or while you’re cooking dinner. You might just burn some extra calories if you start dancing.
12. Join a Gym
One of the last ideas on the list is to join a gym. That’s always an option! And not a bad option if the price is right, it’s convenient, and you actually go. Bonus points for a gym with a pool.
We’ve had gym memberships on and off over the years and have enjoyed the chance to get out of the house in the winter so that we can exercise.
13. Go Outside
Some days it truly isn’t a good idea to go outside but most days aren’t a problem. Bundle up and exercise outside in the winter.
Our dog Mozzie won’t let us get away with skipping his daily walks, so I’m outside most days of the winter walking him.
Make it fun by going sledding, ice skating, playing tackle football in the snow, or just building a snowman. It’s plenty of exercise just to trudge through the snow with winter gear on.
There are a bunch of ways to stay active even in the winter. The key is to not get too comfy on the couch before you’ve been active! Haha, it’s just so hard to fight the couch once you’re warm and cozy on it 🙂
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