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Cold Weather Exercise Ideas

Do you dread winter? Do the short days and below-freezing temperatures make you want to hole up in your house, cuddling under blankets and watching your favorite program’s all-day marathon? If this sounds like you, you’ve got to know you’re not alone. Millions of folks see winter’s chill as vindication for their inactivity. So what happens when that thaw comes and you realize you’ve not only spent four months lounging around the house… you’ve also allowed winter’s heightened snacking to gravitate right to your hips? Luckily, there are answers to this yearly question. The good news about cold weather is that it comes with its own special set of workouts that not only help keep you from gaining winter’s typical 10 pounds; they can also help chase away those winter doldrums and lift your spirits ‘til summer. Here are some great ideas for winter workouts, from those that are meant to be performed in the cold such as skiing and ice skating, to those you wouldn’t normally consider this time of year, such as walking and swimming (with extra tips on swimmer’s ear prevention).


Few cold weather exercises can exhilarate your psyche and power your workout like skiing. Often chosen by thrill seekers for its blast of adventure, downhill skiing is one of the most effective workouts around, no matter what the elements have in store. And for those who are looking for a cold weather exercise that doesn’t pack such a wallop,  cross country skiing is a kinder, gentler way to get the blood flowing and burn some fat on those days when Jack Frost comes to call.

Ice skating

Some researchers say ice skating dates back more than 3,000 years, while others say true ice skating was born around the 14th century B.C. Either way, it is undeniable that ice skating has been popular for centuries, and for good reason. Ice skating is one of winter’s most enjoyable sports, and it’s also one of its most effective workouts. Gliding along the ice is a great way to build muscles you never knew you had. It’s also a great way to spend a fun afternoon with friends, family, or in peaceful solitude.

WiFi workouts

Okay, so you’ve decided you’d love to engage in a day of skiing, but stepping outside into those frigid temperatures isn’t exactly your idea of a fun afternoon. What do you do? Answer… WiFi Fit! WiFi interactive workout games are a fantastic way to get some cold weather exercise without the cold weather.

Winter walking

Walking in summer can make you hot and sweaty, but getting out for a bout of brisk winter walking is an awesome way to feel alive and get back into the game, especially when winter’s short days and icy temps are dipping your spirits. If you’re going out for a winter walk, be sure to bundle up… but not too much. Remember that it won’t take long to begin burning fat, so extra clothes can make you sweat and actually end up turning up the chill. Dress in layers that will be easy to tie around your waist or toss over your shoulder if you decide to lighten your body’s load as you walk.


If you’re close to a heated indoor pool, you can’t beat a swim in the middle of a freezing cold winter day. There simply is no other exercise on Earth quite like swimming. Because water workouts are both cardio and strength-training at the same time, they burn fatter than any other workout there is. But don’t forget you’re still smack in the middle of winter and cold. For added fun, sip a cool non-alcoholic beverage poolside after your workout. You’ll feel like summer never went away!

Winter doesn’t have to bring you down, and it doesn’t have to be a time to be inactive. In fact, cold weather can be the ideal setting to get your blood circulating and burn fat with especially high intensity. If you’re looking for ideas on how to reboot your summer energy, try one of these cold weather exercises that’ll help keep you in high gear ‘til spring. If you don’t mind braving the cold, try cross-country skiing or a fun day of ice skating with friends and family. If you’d rather stay inside on those ice-cold days, try a WiFi workout with your kids or an effective breathing-and-stretching workout with Pilates. And if you just can’t wait for hot fun in the summertime, try swimming or jogging in a heated indoor pool. (If you’re going to swim, be sure to dry out your ears thoroughly after each swim for proper swimmer’s ear prevention.)