Now that winter is right around the corner, the nights are longer, the weather is colder and you probably don’t have the same energy you did throughout the rest of the year. During the spring and summer, you may have taken daily walks around the neighborhood or went outside and played with your children. But now that the colder weather is here, you may prefer to stay inside and hibernate.

If this scenario sounds familiar, you’re not alone. According to a recent Gallup poll, the amount of Americans that report exercising regularly actually begins dropping in October and hits a yearly low in December. The cold combined with the craziness of the holidays makes many regular exercisers forget their fitness routine for awhile. But even in the winter, you still should be getting the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a day, at least 5 days a week. Maintaining a regular exercise routine around the holidays is especially important because of all the extra eating and drinking that takes place.  

Luckily, exercising in the winter doesn’t mean you have to go for an 8-mile run or spend hours at the gym. There are many other ways you can fit physical activity into your schedule this winter. Below we have listed some great ideas for both indoor and outdoor winter exercise.


  • Join a Fitness Class - Whether you choose yoga, Zumba, spinning, Body Pump or something else, fitness classes are a great way to get out of the house and get moving. Some classes feel more like a dance party than a workout!

  • Get Involved in an Indoor Sports League - In addition to getting a great, competitive workout, you’ll also get to meet a lot of new people. Pittsburgh Sports League offers basketball, indoor soccer, dodgeball, dek hockey and more!

  • Walk  - Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t walk. Many communities have an indoor gym with a walking track. Can’t find one? Malls and shopping centers are also great places to get a winter walk in. You can get your holiday shopping done and burn calories at the same time.

  • Clean the House - Having a clean house and staying in shape go hand-in-hand. Household chores like vacuuming, sweeping, dusting and even doing the laundry count as being active.

  • Make Commercial Breaks Workout Breaks - Even if you’re a couch potato that loves watching TV in the winter, you can make your own creative workout routine by using commercial breaks to do sit ups, squats, push ups and any other calorie burning workout moves you can think of.


  • Shoveling Snow - Believe it or not, snow shoveling is actually a great winter workout. One hour of snow shoveling can burn 413 calories.

  • Walk the Dog - It may be getting colder out, but our furry friends need exercise during the winter, too. You may as well take advantage of this and get two workouts done at once! As long as you’re sure the road is clear of slippery ice and snow, bundle up and take your pooch around the block a few times.

  • Try a Winter Outdoor Sport - Even if you aren’t a skilled skier or snowboarder, there is plenty more outdoor winter fun to be had. Having a snowball fight, ice skating, and even sledding burn calories and help you keep warm on a cold winter day.

Getting regular exercise this winter doesn’t have to be a hassle. You can even get the entire family in on it. Not only will you be staying in shape, but you’ll also be encouraging a healthy lifestyle for years to come. But remember: before launching your new physical fitness plans this season, be sure to consult your doctor before partaking in any kind of new physical activity, especially if you suffer from a heart condition or any other kind of medical problems. Certain activities can be extremely straining and may even be dangerous to your health if you’ve never done them before or aren’t used to physical activity. It’s also important to remember to bundle up with a heavy coat, gloves, scarf and a warm hat if you plan on participating in any activities outdoors.

We hope you find a fun way to stay physical this winter! Do you have any other favorite winter exercise activities we haven’t listed above?

*Image courtesy of Flickr user Elvert Barnes