Exercise Tips for Winter

Karen Frazier
Jogging in the snow

Do you need exercise tips for winter? As the weather gets colder and the days grow shorter, it may seem difficult to find the motivation to keep up with your exercise program. Try these tips to keep you healthy and motivated all winer long.

Exercising in the Winter

It's easy to come up with excuses to avoid exercising during the winter months. There are very few daylight hours, and outdoor conditions can range anywhere from soggy and mushy to downright icy and dangerous. Not only that, but winter is a pretty busy time of the year for most people. With holiday-related family gatherings, shopping for gifts and attending special events, it may seem more difficult than ever to work exercise into your schedule. Ironically, winter is probably when you will benefit the most from exercise. Here's why winter exercise is so important:

  • Short days and long nights can lead to lack of energy or exhaustion. Exercise can help to re-energize you.
  • Lack of sunlight can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder, depression or a case of the blues. Exercise can help improve mood.
  • Seasonal hustle and bustle during the holidays often leads to poor eating habits and weight gain. Exercise can help keep your weight in check.
  • Cold or nasty weather may make you more sedentary. Exercise gets you up and moving.

Exercise Tips for Winter

How do you get yourself to exercise when your motivation is low, and what can you do when outdoor conditions are dangerous? Try these exercise tips for winter.

Great Winter Exercises

If you're a runner or a walker, winter weather may force you to alter your plans. These tips can help keep you from getting derailed.

  • Many shopping malls open early for indoor walkers. Take advantage of this, walking in the mornings before the mall opens up. If you window shop while you walk, you may also get a jump on holiday gift ideas.
  • Consider joining a gym and using their equipment or purchasing fitness equipment like an indoor treadmill. Some gyms have really fun fitness options like martial arts classes or a climbing wall, which can make your winter workouts new and exciting.
  • Take up an outdoor sport like snow shoeing or cross country skiing. Both are great exercise and a lot of fun.
  • Join a local indoor sports league like basketball or indoor soccer for a competitive way to stay fit.
  • Visit a local swimming pool to swim laps, which will help with endurance and overall fitness.
  • Take advantage of snowy weather by getting outdoors and romping with your kids. It's great exercise.

Outdoor Exercise Safety Tips

If you do plan to continue exercising outdoors in spite of bad weather and waning light, keep these tips in mind.

  • Wear reflective clothing and bright exercise lights so that cars can see you, no matter what the lighting conditions.
  • Avoid walking or jogging on icy paths or roadways.
  • Dress in wicking layers that keep you warm but pull moisture away from your body. Wear synthetic fabrics that breathe closest to your body. Several thin layers will work far better than one bulky layer.
  • In extremely cold conditions, keep fingers covered with gloves.
  • Wear a hat when you exercise outdoors because heat escapes through the top of the head.
  • Don't forget to stay hydrated, even when you don't feel like you're sweating.
  • Wear an outer layer of waterproof material like Gore-Tex.
  • Keep a cell phone with you in case of emergency.

Motivational Tips

If motivation is your problem, here are some things to try.

  • Find an exercise buddy to keep you motivated, or join a group.
  • Try new types of exercise that interest you.
  • Make exercise more like play.
  • Exercise at the same time every day. If you schedule a time to do it, you'll be less likely to skip it.
  • Set fitness goals that you'd like to achieve.

There's no need to stop exercising in the winter. With careful planning, you can stay safe, have fun and still stay in shape, all winter long.

Exercise Tips for Winter