Winter is a cozy season, and it's not hard to see why. As the weather gets cold and nights get longer, it's tempting to stay curled up in bed with a hot beverage. Summer sources of exercise, like outdoor swimming and sports, are less practical in snowy or rainy weather.
It's great to embrace the stillness of winter, but if you're looking for ways to keep active during this cooler time, there are still many ways to keep moving. Winter activities are just as rewarding and diverse as those in any other season.
Nature may seem less hospitable during the winter, but it's no less beautiful. It's perfectly possible to enjoy winter nature walks — just take proper safety precautions.
Monitor the weather forecast and wear layers of comfortable clothing. Take care to pick shoes with good grip and take care on icy ground. With some simple prep, you can enjoy walks and hikes through local parks, snow-covered forest paths, and brightly decorated neighborhoods.
Many cities offer free or affordable dance classes to enjoy alone or with a partner. Learning to tango, salsa, or belly dance can keep the body strong and the mind active. If there are no suitable offerings in your area, you can still put on your favorite music and shimmy around the house.
Online resources can help you learn a few new moves to add to your repertoire, but even the most basic boogying will get your blood pumping.
The winter months offer lots of opportunities for active volunteering. Shoveling driveways, walking dogs for people who aren't able to venture outside, grocery deliveries, cleaning, or serving food in soup kitchens can help people move and meet new friends.
Some volunteer efforts are community-organized, while others can be arranged by simply noticing a neighbor's struggles and offering help. Volunteering can support the health of the community and reduce feelings of isolation, which can build in winter.
Many local fitness centers offer holiday discounts and New Year's deals. Centers can deliver specialized equipment, classes, and even indoor pools, and they provide a great place for warm exercise.
If outdoor walking isn't safe or feasible, a mall-walking group could be the next best thing. Plus, home exercise routines are free and easy to follow online for all fitness levels.
Stretching is extremely important to health and posture and can be done fairly easily at home. There are plenty of guided stretch classes on YouTube and Instagram, whether you're looking for general fitness or yoga.
Simply getting up and doing a quick stretch every hour or so during working hours is also a great way to stay supple. Developing a regular habit can help avoid aches and pains and improve circulation.
Taking a few minutes out of every day to play is valuable for people of every age. Those with pets or children could spend some time playing catch or hide and seek. Hula hoops or a hop-scotch drawn out with tape can be a fun way to get moving if you have the space.
There are even sometimes community groups that gather to play active games in the wintertime.
Putting on a pair of snowshoes and trekking around is less difficult than skiing or snowboarding but still provides a heavier workout than hiking alone.
This activity is available at many ski resorts and is especially popular in northern States like Maine and Vermont. Beginners should be careful to choose trails that are not too challenging and to wear proper clothing. If you're new to the sport, a guide is invaluable.
Even in locations that don't experience heavy snowfall, many cities put up winter ice-skating rinks, either indoors or out. Taking a turn around the local ice rink can be a great way to get in the winter spirit.
Some locations offer beginner classes, and there are often other people around if you need help. Even walking in ice skates can offer a slight workout, and sitting beside the rink afterward with a cup of hot chocolate is a fun and cozy way to wind down.
One of the classic winter activities, building snowmen and making snow angels are great ways to stay active and enjoy the season.
This activity is especially fun with family or friends, which adds a healthy social aspect, too. Children love helping to form the snowman and decorate his face. Even alone, however, these classic winter activities can bring out child-like enthusiasm in anyone.
It can be tempting in the cold months to pick up take-out or order in, but cooking a new recipe is a great way to stay active. There are additional ways to stay fit while cooking a daily meal, such as marching in place while stirring or moving your arms while waiting for water to boil or cookies to bake. Even simply standing in the kitchen, instead of sitting like you may have done all day, has a positive benefit on your health.
A bit of winter baking and cooking can help you get moving and be more mindful about what you're eating. Best of all, it's an activity that ends with a delicious treat.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.