Skip to Content

Fun Ways to Keep Fit in Winter

Woman snowshoe running through a snowy forest

With the holidays behind us, you may be rethinking those excuses that it’s “too cold outside.” We’ve all been guilty of using the dark morning and the bone-chilling weather as an excuse not to exercise in winter. You’re not alone, but that doesn’t mean you should go with the flow.

Studies show that a lack of exercise in winter leads to:

  • A 20% decrease in cardiopulmonary fitness within just three to eight weeks of not exercising,
  • A higher rate of reverting to a sedentary lifestyle within three to six months of not exercising,
  • Difficulty losing the winter weight gained even when they start exercising again. [1]

How to Keep Fit in Winter

Now that we’ve covered why not to cease exercise, let’s talk about some innovative ways to get a move on when your go-to method might not be the most appealing in the colder months.

Start Small

Set a goal of just trying something once: get up early, dress warmly, and go for that ride or take your dog for an early morning run around the neighborhood. Or try that new fitness class you typically avoid in the summertime when you’re too busy outside running on the trails.

Use the Climate to Your Advantage

Rather than fight the climate (a losing battle), use it to your advantage! Embrace the cold snowy weather and learn to snowshoe or cross country ski. Not only will you keep your mind busy, your body will respond well to the opportunity to cross train.

Be Creative

One client who was snowed in and couldn’t get to the gym opted to make snow shoveling the driveway his workout for the day, rather than using the family’s snow-blower. Find ways to workout at home, like watching a guided yoga video or using water jugs as weights.

Challenge Yourself

Don’t let fear of getting too cold allow you to skip your workout all on its own. Invest in some of the great new gear out there that will keep you warm while wicking away moisture, keeping you dry even while you sweat! Hats and hand and foot warmers will also go a long way in preventing your extremities from getting too cold when outside.

Don’t Forget the Small Stuff

A 15-minute walk around your office building in both the morning and afternoon can add up to 10 miles over the course of a work week—and 10 miles is far from nothing! The simple act of getting a little daily sunlight in winter can improve mood and sleep.

Ward Away the Holiday Blues

Don’t forget the extra benefit we get when we exercise in winter compared to when it’s oh so easy to hop out of bed in the summer to workout. Many people report feeling they have a touch of the blues during this time of the year, either due to a post-holiday lull or lack of sunlight. Exercising can help boost our mood and set the day off on the right foot.

Studies have shown that exercise can be more effective than prescription anti-depressants. [2] By allowing ourselves to be a little less regimented in our typical exercise routines, we open up the possibilities of how to keep fit in winter, even if we’re not training for something bigger.

So, bundle up, get out there, and go!



2) Publishing, Harvard Health. “Exercise Is an All-Natural Treatment to Fight Depression.” Harvard Health,

3) Blumenthal, PhD James A. “Effects of Exercise Training on Older Patients With Major Depression.” Archives of Internal Medicine, American Medical Association, 1 Oct. 1999,

Nell Stephenson, B.S.

Nell Stephenson has been an advocate for The Paleo Diet since 2011, and is the co-author of The Paleo Diet Cookbook.

More About The Author
Nell Stephenson Headshot


back to top