8 Tips to Make Your Winter Workouts Enjoyable


  • Winter workouts can be safe and effective as long as proper steps are taken.
  • Fueling your body and dressing appropriately will set you up for success.
  • Choosing activities you enjoy can make exercise fun.
  • Having an accountability buddy and utilizing outdoor exercise can serve as motivation.

Exercising outdoors always seems like a great idea during the summer. The sun is shining, the weather is warm, and many people are moving about. But is this still true during the winter? 

Most people tend to stay inside as much as possible once those winter months come along. They probably don’t want to be out in the bad weather. During this season, all of our usual activities happen indoors. 

It is important to remember that you can still benefit in many ways from exercising outside. This is still true during the winter! All you need to do is to take the proper precautions.  Always keep in mind how both your mind and body are benefiting. This will make sure your exercise sessions are safe and effective.

1. Fuel Your Body

No matter what conditions you are working out in, it is important to properly fuel your body before exercising. It becomes especially vital if you are going to be outdoors in the winter. Nothing is more important than staying hydrated. You must also make sure that you are providing your body with nutrient-dense and energizing foods.

Dates are a simple and effective pre-workout snack. They can take your workout to the next level. Dates contain low-glycemic carbs. This translates into long-lasting energy. Since they also contain electrolytes and potassium, they can help keep you hydrated. They can also help regulate your muscle contractions. Dates are good for preventing  post-workout muscle soreness and cramping.

2. Choose What You Enjoy

Imagine this: someone asks you if you want to exercise outside.  The first things that pop into your head would probably be walking and running. If you don’t enjoy either of those activities, that is perfectly fine! There are a lot of great things about exercising in the winter. You have a whole new array of options to help you burn calories. 

Workouts you can try include:

  • Cross-country skiing will take you on a journey while allowing you to spend time with others. All of your muscles are involved in this sport. So, this activity can challenge your cardiovascular system.
  • Ice skating is a good cardio workout. This will involve using your balance. It will primarily engage your quads and calves.
  • Ice hockey is a good activity to consider too. It will get you and your family or a group of friends out of the house and exercising. This will happen without you even realizing it!
  • Sledding is a fun way to get your whole family involved. Grab your kids or some friends and pull each other around on sleds. This will lead to a fun ride while engaging in strength training.

3. Find an Accountability Buddy

Finding someone to join you on your winter excursions is almost sure to make them more enjoyable. In addition to getting your heart rate up, you are able to converse with someone you are close to. You’ll be able to spend more time with a buddy that shares the goal of bettering themselves.

There may be days when you do not feel like getting out of bed. Maybe you just want to watch movies at the end of the day. However, if you know that someone is on their way to your meeting spot, you are more likely to show up. Not only do you have a responsibility to yourself. This time, you also put yourself in the position to be responsible for someone else.

When you have an accountability buddy, you are able to share your experiences with exercise. Whether they are struggles or accomplishments, it can be very rewarding. So next time you simply don’t feel like working out, just call up a friend!

4. Plan Ahead

No matter how intrinsically motivated you may be, exercising in winter can be hard. Stepping outside for a run to discover falling snow and a subzero temperature is not very appealing. In fact, it will probably make you rush back inside and shut the door.

We highly recommend planning your workouts ahead of time. This can help prevent unanticipated obstacles from getting in your way. For example, if you exercise outdoors four times a week, look ahead and find the four warmest days. Taking note of the temperature, as well as any precipitation, will be very helpful. 

If your schedule allows it, try to workout in the middle of the day . This is when the weather is the warmest, with the sun at its highest point. Exercising in the morning or evening is doable. However, it may not be as enjoyable because those are the coldest times of day.

Lastly, try picking a place where the situation will not turn hazardous because of ice. This is especially important if you are running, walking, or biking. You may want to find trails and roads that are well-used. This will help prevent ice buildup.

5. Don’t Forget Where It’s Warm

Maybe you find that the temperature or weather makes exercising outdoors unsafe. In this case, just head inside for your workout! Doing stationary cardio or following a strength training video in your living room is a great alternative. These will still ensure you are taking the right steps towards your goals.

There might also be too many distractions in your home. You might not even have enough room. In this case, head to the gym! Seeing multiple people working out despite the season can help motivate you. They will remind you that other people are in the same situation as you.

After your workout is done, you can also head to a heated pool or sauna if your gym has one. Sitting in the warm water or heated room can be a reward for all your hard work. It will also heat you up before heading back outside. Just don’t forget to let yourself acclimate to room temperature before leaving. This will help minimize the shock to your body.

6. Do the Work, at Work

Some people use work as an excuse as to why they do not have time to workout. However, you can use this to your advantage! Utilizing the workplace as a source of motivation is a great choice to make. This is especially true during the winter months.

Half of the battle of exercise is getting yourself out the door. At work, you are already out of the house and interacting with the rest of the world. This already takes away that obstacle. Take 20 or 30 minutes of your lunch break to go for a jog outside. You can even do a bodyweight workout or head to a nearby class.

If you do not have time to exercise on your lunch break, there is still something else you can do! Bring your workout clothes with you to work. Before leaving at the end of the day, change into the attire. Now you are ready to workout once you get home! It eliminates a possible excuse you could provide yourself.

7. Avoid Seasonal Depression

Some people love the snow and look forward to Christmas. Meanwhile, others dread going outside because of the chilly weather. You may either be the former or the latter. In either case, you are still at risk for seasonal depression.

Seasonal depression is also known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It occurs when you feel moody and lack energy in the winter months. SAD can happen during any season. However, it is most heavily present when there is less sunlight. 

Exercising outdoors can be a great preventative measure for SAD. It exposes you to the sunlight and fresh air regularly. Doing this also helps with keeping you motivated and energized. This is true when you otherwise want to curl up in bed and watch movies all day.

8. Dress for the Occasion

There are many ways to make winter workouts both enjoyable and safe. For starters, it is important to wear the proper attire. Dressing in clothes that do not cover enough skin or are too thin will expose your body to unfavorable conditions. It could possibly bring along an early end to your routine.

Choose sweat-wicking, dark colored clothing. Make sure to layer as much as you need. Cover as much of your skin as you can! Sharp winds can make your body temperature gradually drop.

Making sure that your head, face, hands, and feet are covered is crucial. These are the areas of your body where body heat escapes first. Wear a hat and cover the lower part of your face with a scarf. Depending on the activity you are doing, it may be advisable to wear goggles. Wear gloves and proper shoes, as well. 

Staying safe and healthy is important all year round. Unfortunately, your body doesn’t take a break during the winter months, even if you want to!Winter workouts can be enjoyable and doable. This is especially true  if you make the right efforts. Try finding an accountability buddy, going for a jog on your lunch break, or any of the other helpful tips mentioned!

We thank you so much for taking the time to expand your knowledge by reading this article. We want to remind you that it is important to consult your doctor before making any important changes. Please check your experts for activities that could impact your health.

Summary

Whether it is summer or winter, getting in your outdoor exercise sessions is always important! Winter workouts can be made enjoyable by choosing the right activities. You can also take actions that will set you up for success. There is still a lot to look forward to in the colder months. Make sure to fill up on sunlight, fresh air, and scenic views!

Scientific Information

  • Potassium – is a mineral and type of electrolyte that helps your muscles contract and nervous system function.
  • Muscle contractions – occur when a muscle fiber shortens while generating force.
  • Low-glycemic carbs – foods that are mainly a source of carbohydrates and are minimally processed that fall at 55 or less on the glycemic index.
Written by:

Christine VanDoren

Certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist

Reviewed by:
Registered Dietitian
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