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How To Stay Active In The Winter: Don’t Let The Cold Slow You Down!

By: Holly Smith, D.O. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

how to stay active in the winter

Wondering how to stay active in the winter? Whether your winters are cool and mild or downright frigid, it can be hard to stay motivated in the winter months.

The days are shorter and wind, snow, and ice can make it hard to stick to your outdoor workouts.

Plus, dark mornings and an early sunset can lead to a loss of motivation to even want to exercise indoors, let alone outside.

It can make you want to curl up on the couch with warm blanket and comfort foods!

Weight gain over the winter months contributes a great deal to the growing obesity epidemic.

On top of that, studies have found that weight gain over the holidays typically isn’t reversed in the spring and summer months.

This means unhealthy choices that you make during the winter tend to carry over in the long term.

But don't let this get in the way of your fitness goals!

There are numerous ways to stay active in the winter and committed to a healthy lifestyle, both indoors and outdoors.

Plus, this is a perfect time to get your kids and family involved!

Here's how to stay active in the winter.

These 4 tips on how to stay active in the winter will help you prevent weight gain and feel better!

How To Stay Active In The Winter

Learn A New Winter Sport

Sometimes the monotony of doing the same workouts and cardio every day out can lead to exercise burnout.

So if you’ve been running all summer or doing the same HIIT workouts, the winter months are the perfect excuse to add some variety to your exercise regimen with a new winter sport.

Activities like cross country skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing are great aerobic workouts that will build incredible cardiovascular fitness along with lower body and core strength.

You can also take the kids out to enjoy some fun in the snow.

Skiing and snowboarding are great winter sports that the whole family can enjoy.

Even something like sledding will get you great exercise from walking up and down the hills.

Move Your Outdoor Workouts Inside

While running and biking outdoors can be a bit boring this is sometimes the safest way to enjoy these activities during the winter months.

While the scenery may not be as great, this is a great time to introduce new challenging treadmill or bike interval workouts.

Doing these types of workouts in a controlled environment really allows you to push yourself without worrying about any environmental hazards.

Plus, you can set the speed, incline, or resistance to precise levels so that you can’t “cheat” during a tough session.

If you have your own exercise equipment at home, that’s a bonus.

If not, the winter months could be a great time to join a gym.

Then you can get your cardio and weight training done all in one place.

Learn how to set up a home workout schedule!

Try A New Group Class

It’s easy to lose motivation in the winter months, especially if you are working out by yourself.

But by joining a group exercise class you can regain some motivation by working up a sweat with like-minded fitness enthusiasts.

Boot camp, high-intensity intervals, or spin classes are great ways to challenge yourself.

And the group atmosphere will push you to your limits

If your gym doesn’t offer group glasses, there are tons of fitness apps that offer at-home workouts with a group atmosphere.

So clear out some space in your living room and start a new at-home routine to stay active all winter long!

See the program 38,000 guys over 40 are using to get results like these

Get Active With Your Kids

With the kids home for the holidays, this is the perfect time to get the whole family involved in a healthy lifestyle.

It can get pretty hectic with the kids cooped up in the house over the holidays.

This makes it a great opportunity to introduce exercise and fitness to your kids.

Think of it as physical education and health class all in one.

Plus, you can burn calories and build strength right along with them.

And you will be teaching them about the importance of health and fitness that they can use for years to come.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that children and adolescents ages 6 to 17 years do 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily.

However, the National Survey of Children’s Health found that only 24% of kids this age actually achieve this level of activity.

You can create circuit workouts indoors.

Or grab some warm running gear and challenge your kids to some jogs around the block.

Whatever you choose, the more enjoyable you make the activities, the more likely your kids will want to stay engaged in fitness.

Try these 7 exercises for kids to get stronger and start improving their health today!

Outdoor Exercise

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you should neglect your cardio workouts.

If your gym is still open there is always the option to join a fitness class or jump on the treadmill at your fitness center.

However, if you don’t enjoy wearing a mask while you work out, there are plenty of ways to add cardio at home and outdoors.

Cold temperatures and chilling winter winds mean that you need to be prepared with the right clothing and gear if you decide to take your workouts outdoors.

Since people feel cold when they start their workout they often make the mistake of wearing too much clothing.

It's important to remember that your body will start to warm up as you get going.

And when you start sweating under all those layers this is actually going to create even colder conditions.

To avoid sabotaging your workout with the wrong exercise attire, you need to layer your clothing for outdoor activities.

Choose fabrics that wick moisture away from your skin to avoid excess sweat building up and chilling your body.

For example, wear an inner layer that contains a moisture-wicking fabric, with a second warmer layer, such as a long sleeve shirt.

If there is rain, snow, or high winds you can add a third protective layer, like a jacket or windbreaker.

As you heat up you can shed some of this clothing.

If you are out for a run or walk you can tie the top layer around your waist when you start to warm up.

You could also choose a loop route that comes back by your house or car so that you can leave your extra layers there as you continue your workout.

A little bit of planning ahead will keep you safe and comfortable during your workouts.

See the program 38,000 guys over 40 are using to get results like these

Short Days Mean Darker Conditions

Even if you don’t live in extremely cold conditions in the winter, such as the southern US, you still have to contend with dark mornings and evenings.

This can make your normal workout routine, such as a bike ride or run, more dangerous.

If you enjoy exercising outdoors, you don’t have to stop in the winter.

But the change of season means that when you wake up it’s dark and by the time you get home from work the sun has already set.

Again, this doesn’t mean you need to skip your workout.

You just need to do a little planning ahead.

If you are walking, biking, or running outdoors before the sun rises or after sunset, you should wear a reflective vest or headlamp.

You can also carry a small flashlight so that others can see you.

Some people even clip small lights onto their running shoes to make themselves more visible to cars.

Holly Smith D.O. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Holly is board-certified in nephrology and internal medicine, has a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, and is a certified personal trainer with NASM-PES certification.

Holly is a keen runner, triathlete, and fitness and nutrition enthusiast. She has completed four full ironmans, twelve marathons, countless half ironmans, Olympic distance triathlons, half marathons, and numerous other road races.

Holly joined the Fit Father Project in May 2019 as a regular writer, contributing articles on health, wellness, exercise, and nutrition.

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*Please know that weight loss results and health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on how to stay active in the winter.

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Our Fit Father Project Team’s deepest commitment is to helping you live healthier for both yourself and your family. And when it comes to online content, integrity and trust is everything. That’s why our Fit Father Project staff-writers are all trained professionals in the field of health and wellness (registered dieticians, licensed personal trainers, and licensed physicians) – see the full team here. We rigorously run all of our articles through a rigorous editorial process to ensure the accuracy, simplicity, and utility of the information. And we aren’t just a team of “academics” sitting in an ivory tower. We are real people – with jobs, responsibilities, and families – working hard in the trenches and testing our tips & methods out to make sure you can stay healthy for family.

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