How to Stay Active Even When Winter Weather Makes You Miserable

When the temperature drops and the winter weather sets in, it’s easy to let your fitness routine slide and to put off your workout – but staying active in winter is absolutely possible. You don’t have to embrace the winter, but you can make some adjustments and keep your goals in sight. We give you some ideas for staying active even when winter weather isn’t cooperating!

Don’t Boycott the Outdoors

There’s a saying, “there’s no bad weather, only bad gear.” Well, that may be at least partly accurate. You can definitely improve your outdoor experience by dressing properly! There is plenty of cold-weather clothing on the market designed to keep you warm without weighing you down. By choosing moisture-wicking fabrics, just as you’d do in warmer weather, you can also avoid being chilled once you get warmed up and start to sweat. Be sure to cover your extremities and don’t forget that on sunny days it’s still important to protect your skin and eyes from the sun!

Colder temperatures may boost your performance! Sure, you may not love running or cycling in the cold, but without summer’s scorching heat you may find that you’re moving faster and crushing your previous records. Be sure to properly warm up, though, because you’re more likely to strain or pull a muscle if you aren’t warmed up and attempt your usual routine in cold weather.

As many locals know, it’s a good time to get out and start training for the Mini-Marathon in May (or other spring races). If you’re just starting to build your base miles, now isn’t the time to go crazy with distance. You can still easily add miles if you don’t try to add too many miles, too fast. Taking a lunch break and getting a few miles in will give you the advantages of getting some fresh air, helping your training, and hitting the warmest part of the day. Be careful of slippery roads and sidewalks – you don’t want your winter training to result in a winter injury!

Even a simple walk can be a great way to get your heart rate up outdoors, and with the colder temperatures, you may be extra motivated to move faster! On the other hand, you can burn calories and be productive: did you know that shoveling snow can burn up to 200 calories in 30 minutes? By the time you’re done with your sidewalk and driveway, that could be your cardio for the day! Be careful to warm up and stretch the way you’d warm up and stretch for other activity. (Also, if you’re not fit enough for regular exercise, please don’t start by shoveling snow. Every year, people experience injury and even die from cardiac events after shoveling snow when they’re not in good enough health for strenuous activity.)

You can also try tried-and-true winter activities like skiing, ice-skating, and even sledding. Be sure that you start slow and increase your activity level as you gain experience. In other words, if it’s your first time trying downhill skiing, be practical and don’t pretend you’re a pro! Even sledding can boost your mood and with all that walking back up hill, you may definitely feel it in the morning. With winter activities: don’t bite off more than you can chew, and limit your time outside depending on weather and your fitness level.

…Or Move Indoors!

If you just can’t bring yourself to go outside this time of year, there are plenty of warm options indoors. Join a gym, your local YMCA, or even try your own living room and some videos. You can be resourceful and challenge yourself no matter what time of year it is; don’t use the weather as an excuse to become one with your couch! Stay moving, motivated, and healthy this winter by trying some outdoor exercise or staying inside but also staying focused.

If you need help getting your fitness journey into gear, Body One Physical Therapy is here to help get you moving! We’re locally-owned and operated, with four locations serving Central Indiana: North Indianapolis, South Indianapolis, Fishers, and Zionsville. Our team of dedicated and experienced physical therapists works with clients of all ages and activity levels and we’d love to work with you. If you’re letting movement problems, pain, mobility, or other issues slow you down, don’t wait: call Body One today!