How Do You Stay Fit in Winter? [Win a signed copy of Foodist]

by | Jan 27, 2014

Photo by bgbabygirl

Earlier this month I was at the farmers market and asked one of my favorite farmers how he’s doing. “I’ve been out of water for a month,” he told me. “And I won’t have more until it rains. I’m looking for new land.”

It’s been two weeks since then, not a drop of water has fallen, and smoke has filled the skies from the wildfires in the hills.

We aren’t having winter in California this year.

While 75 degree days in January sounds awesome on the surface, it certainly comes with its downsides. As I stroll to the gym each day in a t-shirt and sunglasses hoping that my post-workout shower water won’t be rationed, my brain struggles to imagine what it’s like to fight blizzards and the polar vortex.

That said, even though snow and ice make me feel like a fish out of water, I can guarantee you that I’d figure out a way to get my workouts in regardless of weather.

We all face different challenges to staying fit year round, and we each have to find strategies that work for us and our particular situation. This presents an excellent opportunity to harness the power of the internet and the collective wisdom of Summer Tomato readers to share ideas and solutions.

If you have a specific problem or obstacle making your healthstyle more difficult, you certainly aren’t alone. Similarly, if you’ve overcome a particular healthstyle barrier, there are likely dozens (if not hundreds or thousands) of other people who would benefit from knowing your solution.

If you’ve come up with a way to get regular exercise, 10,000 steps, or stay physically active despite the chilly, icy weather in your town please share your solution in the comments below.

Next week I’ll compile a list of the best suggestions and post it here at Summer Tomato. I’ll also send a free signed copy of Foodist to the person who impresses me the most. (I can’t ship internationally, but you’re welcome to use something like this).

My hope is that by this time next week we’ll have an arsenal of amazing tips to stay in shape throughout the colder months.

How do you stay fit in the winter?


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98 Responses to “How Do You Stay Fit in Winter? [Win a signed copy of Foodist]”

  1. Sarah says:

    1. If it would snow again here, I would go snowshoeing. I love it, and my dog gets to be off-leash in the forest and he goes NUTS. Great for both of us.

    2. I work at a university and on really polar-vortexy days (like today – current windchill is -20 F), I use the tunnel system that connects several buildings to the one where I work. I do building laps to get in my 10k steps, and throw in a few flights of stairs for good measure. This takes the place of my normal mid-afternoon outdoor stroll around central campus.

    3. Been hitting the gym for weights and using the indoor track. It’s less awful than the dreadmill, and a good way to build up a bit of endurance for a (hopefully not too cold) 5k next weekend. Also started using the Wii fit again recently.

    Stay warm!

    • Jeanne says:

      Hi Darya,
      Usually I have a difficult time staying fit in the winter. I have been sporadically doing HIIT: 20 sec running in place & 2 min walk (in the house)6 times each. Today for the first time I did a 30 sec jog around the house (yes I have room to do this!) & walked 60 sec 11 times each. Wow! what a difference I felt by this increase! I also did a 40 sec plank. I am 61 yrs old so warm up is crucial for me. I plan to do this routine 3 – 4 times a week.

    • Carol says:

      I love the fit bit! Thanks for the suggestion.
      Snowshoeing, skiing are fun outdoor activities. During the week I hit thegym, take the stairs and do anything to get in more steps; dancing in the family room is also fun and kids love it. Get the whole family moving!

  2. Jenna says:

    Living in Salt Lake City during the winter comes with a unique set of challenges. I’m not talking about just snow, ice, and cold. We get stuck with cruddy air every December and January due to our “bowl” like geography. Getting 10,000 steps in each day becomes a real challenge. My solution: become that nutty person who power walks through buildings. I can often be found briskly walking up and down each aisle at the University’s library as I take a break from my desk work.

  3. Katie says:

    I’m lucky that I live a mile and a half from work… but walking to work (and getting 10,000 steps+ a day!) is the #1 thing I’m doing to stay fit this winter. It sounds terrible to go out for a 35 minute walk in the freezing cold, but apart from the daily benefits, I’ve got the advantage over people who drive: being out in the -100000 degrees means that I got acclimated to the cold very quick, and I’m saving a fortune on heating bills!

  4. Jay Gustafson says:

    Recent transplant to Chicago from San Francisco, it’s difficult to change from a glorious runs through the Presidio to the confines of a gym and a treadmill. Psychologically boring, treadmills require a plan to break up the monotony. I find that changing the pace every half mile certainly increases my mental stamina. Also, I try varying the distance each day, adding speed work and the weekly stair challenge (advantage of living in a 20-story building) really serve to break up the routine. So far I’ve stayed motivated through the cold months.

  5. Jennifer says:

    On weekends or days where there is a bit more time, snowshoeing is the best workout! Yesterday some friends and I bundled up, drove outside the city, and spent a couple hours snowshoeing in -20C weather. But the trees shelter you from the wind and it’s just really peaceful. If you find a place with lots of hills it’s a great workout!

    On normal days I work from home, so when it’s snowy and freezing out it’s reallllllly difficult to convince myself to stay active. I find taking a break mid-afternoon to walk to the grocery store (maybe 3km round trip?) gets me outside while the sun is hopefully out, and gets me excited for what to make for dinner.

    Having a combo of daily routines and fun winter activities is the best way to survive the cold months without losing my mind!

  6. Kristy says:

    Get a dog! My dog doesn’t care if it’s snowing, raining, -18, she’s up and at ’em at 6:30 ready for her walk! I have a calf length down jacket and bundle up really well and we walk for 2-4 miles depending on conditions. (She doesn’t last too long on -18 days 🙂 ). I love my dog!

    • carole says:

      Dogs really can be lifesavers. My husband and I are both retired and have two senior dogs who love to smell for miles at a time. We read somewhere that most pet owners may spend 10 minutes at most outdoors with their dogs per day! How sad. Admittedly, working persons have fewer hours in their day than we, but one wonders why have a dog if there is no time for it? We also get exercise at our local community center in the fitness and weight rooms for an hour a day 3 times a week and another hour in the pool doing laps. I have personnal dropped 30 pounds and lowered my cholesterol by 65 points in one year since retirement. Makes me happy to get cold with such a benefit as that!

  7. Well, I actually love my morning routine:

    First I wake up and meditate for twenty minutes, then I do five rounds of hatha yoga sun salutations to get my heart pumping and stretch my body. Then I go downstairs and greet my dogs in my running gear and drink a glass of water with half a lemon; instead of walking the dogs I choose to run with them in the morning for about twenty minutes. Then I hit the shower, eat my fruit bowl and millet porridge while drinking a cup of coffee and start my day with a smile.

  8. Jerry Robertson says:

    Winter fitness us a combination of activities in Minnesota. For me, it’s snowshoeing with the dog a couple of times a week in the open space near the house. Then there’s hockey twice a week at a local rink. And finally, group kettlebell sessions with a fave trainer 3 times per week.

    So, a little indoors. A little outdoors. It all works out to a healthier me.

  9. Gaelle Duret says:

    I am belgian, so I should be kind of used to cold winters, right? But we lived for around 15 years in Chile with long nice summers and short mild winters before we moved to Boston in 2012. Polar vortex temperatures, snow, ice, hurricanes,.. I think we have had it all since we moved here. Getting used to live in such a cold environment is tough (specially when it is dark at 4.15pm in December), but I must say that it has not stopped me from exercising. And I believe the reason being that I have it “built in” my daily routine,.. so it does not require any particular will power to make me go to the gym. I just go. I sometimes wish I could go out and run,.. but aside from that, in most really cold places, there are tons of indoor activities, such as yoga, wall climbing, hockey, tennis, squash,.. pure bare, pilates,.. and just the regular gyms. The question for me is not how to work out during the winter, but how to incorporate exercising in your own habits, as you so well explain in your many posts.

  10. Kari says:

    I’m legally blind and kinda stubborn, so I usually walk absolutely everywhere, from work almost three miles away, to the park where I run for a while, to the grocery store where I then acquire too much stuff I then carry home.

    That is NOT happening this winter. This is the warmest it is going to be today and it is negative two with a feelslike of negative twenty-five. I could cope with that even, if it hadn’t also warmed and frozen over and over again so now the sidewalks are bumpy piles of icy death. I simply can’t walk ANYWHERE when it’s not a thaw. This would be a good recipe to stay inside and read a lot and order too much pizza.

    So instead I am trading my skills (I work in massage) for rides to get what I need. This means I am doing plenty of physical work and eating well enough.

    I’ve rearranged my furniture so that I have TWO wide open spaces for exercise. I vary between aerobic activities like dance; and working my way through a yoga book that is far more hardcore than my usual flavor. Last thing I want to do is try to go for a run in the spring and discover that I can’t!

    I’m making an effort to enjoy the winter. There has been much shoveling (it’s gotta get done, after all) and a bit of outdoor activities at local natural areas. There’s snowshoe rental so there’s my next thing to try.

    Stay warm, everybody!

  11. Emily says:

    1) yoga: Living in Indiana you really have to learn to embrace gray, dreary days. One good way I did this was picking up yoga. It doesn’t require leaving the house, and the combination of strength moves, flexibility, and mental focus helps me combat the winter blues. Plus, it has relatively little requirements in terms of time and equipment so it’s really easy to incorporate into a busy schedule as daily habit.

    2) stairs: working long hours at a computer in the hospital had me feeling particularly restless, especially with hours so long that I’d be arriving and leaving when the sun was down. Every 30 minutes I would take a break by popping over to my nearest stairwell and go up and down every floor. In some of the hospitals I’ve worked at, this can easily add up to 9 floors each trip. Added bonus is all that work really heats you up, so you’ll be less susceptible to poorly heated rooms.

    3) during the most recent polar vortex episode, we were snowed in for 4 days. Luckily I stocked up on produce before this so I passed the time with all new recipes I had never tried. I also took advantage of being forced to walk more and explored my neighborhood. I met lots of new people I didn’t know lived nearby, took my snowboard out and practiced my moves alongside 4 year olds going sledding with their parents. I wish I had the gear to do this too, but one guy I met took his ice skates and skated on the frozen canal!

  12. Marlene says:

    I just had my 71st birthday and have always thought it important to stay fit in some manner. Weather permitting, I’m outside in the early morning for a walk/jog. However, this winter with its Alaskan like temps, has kept me indoors. So, in addition to my treadmill, I use my stairs several times a day for: laundry, food pantry, recyclables or to grab stored odd pots and pans for a special recipe. I’ve also included some weight training every time I go “downstairs.” That includes 8 and 10 lb weights for arm lifting and lunges. However, I am still looking forward to seeing the sun at some point. I can feel its warmth in my thoughts. Happy winter!

  13. For me it all comes down to a home gym. If I had to trudge through snow and slush before dawn to work out it wouldn’t happen. But walk downstairs? Yeah, I can do that.

    Follow Craigslist starting in late January and scoop up some lightly-used gear from the people who already gave up on their resolutions and it will cost less than three months at a good gym.

  14. Jo says:

    Living in a frigid climate in one of the snowiest cities in the country, a couple days a week I love to go out and enjoy some snow sports (my favorites are cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and downhill skiing), but the key to really enjoying these is making sure you get out right around the middle of the day when it’s the warmest out.

    I’m also quite the fan of at-home exercise – mostly HIIT, interval training and yoga. We don’t keep our house too warm, so my way of motivating myself to work out is putting the space heater on for 10-15 minutes before I start so I’m a little bit warmer in the beginning. After that, my body warms itself up!

  15. I am studying in California this year, and here there isn’t really any good excuses not to exercise outside in the nice weather anyways. But I usually get my 10,000 from walking to and from the university (~3 miles).

    Back in Norway, where it actually is winter, I do the same. I do not use a car, and walk to and from the university daily (about 5 km). We have winter from about October to March, and the weather isn’t really a good excuse for not taking the trip outside. In addition I take the 5 minute trip to my local gym and either run on the treadmill or attend a group session.

    Basically, I get a lot of my daily steps simply from not having/using a car. I either walk or bicycle. A simple no-brainer for getting casual exercise.

  16. Phil Nase says:

    We live in eastern Pennsylvania and it has been a cold, wet and snowy winter so far. My wife and I began running again in the spring of 2013 after quite a few years of trying other forms of exercise (bicycling & walking). For me though at 60, nothing gives me a great workout in a short amount of time like running does. We have been very good this winter about getting outside and running even when the temps are in the teens and the trails are snowy, usually about 3 times per week. It is actually very enjoyable to run on the snow but not so much the single digit temps. It really keeps my weight in check and it makes me so peaceful when I’m done. Probably not 10,000 steps but it works. It also reminds me to eat better which has resulted in my 20 lb. weight loss. Thanks Darya for all the great eating tips.

  17. Gerald says:

    Greetings everyone. First of all, I’m miserable in the summer. I don’t like the heat and humidity. I feel like winter is an all day air conditioner, and is very refreshing. However, I don’t live in a place where it snows; the temperatures hover around freezing for most of winter.

    When it’s cold and windy I lube up my legs, and whatever skin is exposed with petroleum jelly (Vaseline). I wear long sleeve shirts with shorts during the day runs, and tights at night. The petroleum jelly provides a barrier against the cold wind until my and body warms up. If it’s really blustery, I’ll put petroleum jelly everywhere, even under my shirt, to keep me warm when I start.

    Good Running everyone!

  18. Trey says:

    I’ve had great success over the last 4 weeks with 10k steps (started purposefully tring for that 4 weeks ago.) My strategy is to walk 30 mins in the morning, and then 30 mins at lunch – our work has a treadmill, but if I had to I’d dress for winter). At the same time, I’m doing a “slouch” to 5k. That gives me something to aim for. After 8 weeks, a lot of the steps will be done in the 30 min morning, session, with the remainder done at my lunch walk (that is, 3 days a week). Then I’ll work to start running 30 mins a day for 4, then 5, 6, 7 days a week, instead of my 30 walk/30walk routine on those days. Then I’ll build to run every day at 7.5 mphs (I only go at 6 mph now while I’m building up). If I do that, I’ll get 10k steps in 30 mins. It’ll take a while but it is fun the whole way.

  19. Bee says:

    To keep fit and active during Minnesotan winters I walk through my college campus’ tunnels, which connect our main buildings. This is a great way to reach 10,000 steps. During really cold days (like today, -27 degrees with wind chill), there is always the option of running flights of stairs.
    The other great way I keep fit is to embrace the outdoors during the winter instead of fighting it. I love to cross country ski, go for (short) walks (with 5+ layers of clothes on), and shovel snow. I have found that the greatest way to stay sane and fit during Minnesota winters is just to get outside and make the most of what nature has given us 🙂

  20. Brianna says:

    Well, I hail from lovely Western New York where lake effect snow dominates mid-November through March. This has been a particularly fun winter with temperatures in the single digits and wind chills at -20 or lower, (my favorite- kidding!) I love feeling like my toes and cheeks might fall off! Anyway, I sit on my butt allll day long at work however, I am still in college and I enjoy working out. When its cold like this I will find any possible route on campus to not go outside. This includes walking up and down multiple staircases, taking a basement route, going through the library or going through the tempting food court. It makes me feel like James Bond or maybe just a little sneaky/cool because some corridors are so empty and I’m moving fast, darting around corners because time is tight. Today (first day back), I hit my 10k steps because I got lost finding my building, I was beyond frozen but when I saw I hit 10k I was pretty giddy. Haha! Other ways I keep active in the winter are the gym, run up and down my stairs a bunch of times or jump every 3 stairs for a decent burn in the quads, I snowshoe, ski, hoolahoop while watching a movie or show, do kettlebell and ball workouts and recently started yoga, as in very recent, like yesterday recent. 🙂 Sometimes, if I am brave, I will walk around my block a few times but usually the warmth of my house wins that one. Oh! Another fun favorite thing my sister and I like to do is go to Sky Zone trampoline park for an hour, it is an amazing workout, you stretch limbs you probably haven’t stretched in forever and burn tons of calories. Seriously, so much fun!

  21. Gord McLeod says:

    I use a standing desk, and take frequent brief breaks to walk around the room a bit. (This is aided greatly by my habit of pacing when standing.) This gives me thousands of “free” steps every day, which is a lot better than sitting immobile all the time.

    I also try to eat good food, of course!

  22. Sarah McKay says:

    Luckily, I live in Sydney, Australia. So winter-time means I CAN exercise outside! I get to run (by the beach of course)…. summer is when it is tricky and I take to the gym instead.

  23. NatalieInCA says:

    I turned my desk into a standing desk, walk when talking on the phone, do push ups when infusing my tea, etc… I use all these short idle times thorough the day to move. At the end, it adds up. I also weigh myself every day. If I had a fitbit, I would use that to monitor my activities, but I don’t, so weight is the easiest way for me to keep track of my fitness level. In winter, with all the layers, I rely a lot more on the scale, whereas in summer, my summer dresses and daisy shorts are the best monitoring tools! If my weight goes up, it motivates me the next days to increase activity or watch portion sizes. Monitoring is really key for me to stay fit.

  24. Lately I’ve been doing indoor swimming & rock climbing. Also if I don’t feel like doing either of those I just do some jump rope at home indoors or outdoors depending if the weather permits!

  25. Alyssa says:

    During my (cold) winter, I do all my walking and cardio during the times of my favorite television shows. I don’t feel the need to pay for entertainment programming (which means more money for a heating bill). Kind of excited to hit the gym during the Winter Olympics.

  26. Jen says:

    I am another person living in the Midwest. Normally I don’t mind winter, who doesn’t love sledding, but this is too cold for me. I will be honest this is usually when exercise falls apart for me. Cold weather and the busy school year seem to take over. Lately my children have been wanting to work out as a family. They are having a blast creating workouts for us to try. They are great at giving me a challenge. It has been fun exercising as a family!

  27. Michelle B says:

    There is nothing more refreshing than taking advantage of the beautiful snow and cozy scarves! Snowshoeing and skiing are both MASSIVE workouts and you get to have a beautiful walk among snow covered trees. ‘Tis the season 🙂

  28. Danielle says:

    I workout 6 days a week with a break day each week. I find the easiest way to get it in during Winter is in my house, although I usually do most of my workouts in my house all year round. I find it best during the week to get it in right after work so I get it out of the way for the rest of the night and in the morning after breakfast on the weekends.

    I would suggest getting a buddy to help with motivation, if you set time aside together you are more likely to continue forward with your routine, even better if it’s a family member you already live with.

  29. I have to admit (sheepishly) that here in the subtropics, winter doesn’t change too much fitness-wise. But in the summer? Gah. Too hot for anything.

    Since cancer though I’ve made it a huge priority to exercise daily – a mix of yoga and high-intensity cardio (not at the same time, haha), all based on workouts from iTunes, youtube, Yoga Journal, Yoga Today, and so on. Many of them were free or the cost of a cup of coffee or two. I also love the Nike Training app for quick, kick-butt workouts 🙂

    Happy exercise!

  30. Jen says:

    I’m a bicyclist in the rainy, windy Northwest.

    Half the solution is equipment: having fenders, owning warm dry layers, and then just getting out in weather that others would consider marginal.

    The other solution is having an indoor option. My husband and I have some weights and a spin bike by the best TV in the house. Action movies make the boredom a little more manageable. 🙂

  31. Yoojin says:

    Oh, how I wish for temperatures in the teens every morning I wake up!
    But despite the unbearable cold, I turn to indoor workouts (pilates, yoga, bodyweight HIITS) to get my body warm!

    Also, since I’m bundled up, I sometimes challenge myself to get off the bus a few stops before my usual stop to get in more steps 🙂

  32. Tom Bruning says:

    When I was younger I would run 5 miles every day. The weather did not matter. After a succession of running related injuries I gave up running years ago. Then I took up gym training and used Stairmaster to get some cardio work. Treadmills were boring, every step was exactly like the last, but I missed being outside running. I finally took up running again, but took an less stressful approach and did not care about time and just enjoyed being outside. When winter came I would revert to indoor exercise. After taking up cross country skiing at my wife’s insistence a few years ago I realized that with proper attire being outside is not such a hardship. Now, unless the temperature, or the wind chill is below -10, I bundle up and go for my 4-5 mile run outside. I always start out running into the wind so the harshest part of the run is early, and I can look forward to coasting with the wind for the last segment of the run. If I can run when it is sunny out, like during lunch, the cold is not as much a deterrent since the sun brings at least psychological warmth to the exercise. I also have found that running early in the morning, without any or much wind chill is preferred to running later when the wind tends to increase. The physical and psychological benefits of getting the exercise outweighs the discomfort of getting started. After half a mile I don’t notice the cold much and just enjoy the run. I also adjust my pace and don’t care as much about time when the footing is less than ideal. I have only missed days when it is too cold, or if it is just above freezing and it is raining or sleeting. I would rather run in 20 degree weather and snowing than 40 degrees and raining. The key is finding the right level of clothes to wear.

  33. Meghan says:

    Very interesting! Have you ever worked out in cold-weather conditions? I live on the east coast and my college has a gym that is foot steps away from my dorm, so I don’t have any illegitimate excuses to not go! It’s just the motivation aspect, but for me, that’s easy to overcome. I always feel great after working out, and that makes it worth it for me to get up and go.

  34. Alycia says:

    I walk up the 12 flights of stairs to my apartment rather than take the elevator. Gets my heart rate going, encourages me to continue to workout 🙂

  35. Jessica says:

    I swear by workout DVD’s. They are cost effective and convenient. I have a huge collection and when I’m bored with what I own, I scour youtube and can find anything from HIIT’s to power yoga’s. It currently feels like -30 degrees here in northern Ohio and the last thing I want to do is walk outside to do, well anything.

    Since the dark and cold do nothing for motivation, I commit to working out in the morning. What makes the DVD’s nice is that I can wake up, put on my tennis shoes, pop in a work out and get going within 5 minutes. 30-40 minutes later, I have my workout done and the last thing I’m complaining about is being cold.

  36. Estefania Vela Pinto says:

    I’m a full time med student preparing myself for my last exam for residency living in Chicago, so I pretty much spend all day at home sitting down. I wake up early, drink my cup of water with lemon, my juice recipe of the day and do my session on FitStar. Then every hour and a half I do short sprints of any exercise that will get my heart rate up and will count towards my 10.000. Also some strength exercises. It will warm me up in these polar vortex days that I can’t go out running, tried it once almost came back with out toes jaja.

  37. Tarek says:

    L’hiver on profite des fruits de saison,oranges mandarines,enfin les agrumes et l’huile d’olive,pour combattre la grippe,il faut en profiter des agrumes et en manger tous les jours,se protéger avec des habits bien chauds

  38. Jenny says:

    Ice skating is so much fun (and such a good workout) that I’m honestly going to be a little sad when the ice melts!

  39. Amy says:

    I am loving my new Fitbit–it logs my steps, flights of stairs and my daily activity. I can check multiple devices throughout the day to see how I’m doing. I can also log a food plan that tells me how on target I am for my caloric food intake. Sound like a pain? It’s not-easy peasy, and I’ve been getting my 10,000 steps in easy AND seeing how they impact my caloric burn. Good stuff!

  40. Jackie says:

    I have a DVD I use every day called Mindful Movements. It’s a set of ten exercises for well-being by Thich Nhat Hanh. It perfect to start the day with. I also walk the stairs in my house for a set of 15 times. It’s exhausting but effective. And I have just signed up for a weekly yoga class. I’d rather walk my dog 2+miles a day but can’t do that in this weather. Namaste.

    • Jeanie says:

      Hi Jackie,

      Just wondering if the exercises in Mindful Movements can be done without getting down on the floor. Or, could any floor exercises be accomplished on the bed? My knee implants prevent me from getting on the floor.

      Many thanks!

      • Jackie says:

        Hi Jeanie, These exercises don’t require getting down on the floor. They are all done standing up. Jackie

      • Jackie says:

        Hi Jeanie, These exercises don’t require getting down on the floor. They are all done standing up. Jackie

  41. Hanna says:

    This is my first winter in Boston and I view it as an opportunity to try new activities: I joined an adult swim team (even though I’ve never had official swim lessons!), when there’s snow I’ve been cross-country skiing in the Boston arboretum, and tonight I’m trying out aerial yoga! I’m also loving being part of a winter CSA, learning to make cozy recipes like squash risotto, roasted radishes, and delicious soups. Bottom line for me has been to try as much as possible to view the cold, snow, sleet, and “wintery mix” as incentive for creativity, variety, and fun. It’s been wonderful so far!

  42. Here is my secret admission:
    I’m still hurting from falling on a patch of stealth ice a few weeks back, and so now I’ve had to face my treadmill fear, which is to not “do a George Jetson” – – falling and getting partially sucked into the machine. Yes, I’m really afraid this might happen to me.

    So before resistance or cardio, I treadmill minus the natural sunlight and brisk air. In the process I’m facing a fear. Who knows? Maybe soon I’ll even let go of the bar and walk on the treadmill cool style.
    Damn that ice!

    Resistance and cardio are done in class settings, and I’m going on three years straight of 6x per week – – woo hoo!
    To stay on track, I only focus on getting there. Simple goals work for me! And during workouts I can easily daydream, mess up and stuff, so sometimes I position myself near newbies, which helps me focus, and in turn I’m helping them. Plus I know instructors take attendance. Their jobs depend on good attendance. If my creative head full of excuses starts in on finding a way not to go to the gym, I remind myself instructors need full classes so they can continue. And so sometimes in order to get there I do it for my instructors.


  43. Scott K says:

    North of Toronto on the edge of a snow belt, we can’t let winter slow us down (too much) so we hit the trails with the fur-babies regardless of weather. Hikes have to made shorter because of the extra work of mucking through the snow but makes for a decent workout! All about dressing right.

  44. Henry Z says:

    I have noticed last year that my workouts became much rarer in the winter months, and was baffled as to why. It took me a bunch of self-reflecting to finally figure it out. It basically stemmed from a long trail of assumptions that started with the weather being cold.

    1. My first faulty assumption was that I could only wear gym shorts to the gym. Guys do not wear sweat pants or jeans, etc…
    2. I do not like using gym lockers because they are dirty, and cost 25 cents, and I hate carrying quarters, or any coins for that matter.
    3. I will not change at the gym, as a result.
    4. So I have to wear shorts to the gym, meaning on the way to the gym, I will be exposing my legs to the cold, and I can’t wear a jacket either because I’ll have nowhere to put it at the gym.

    Once I came to this realization, all I needed to do was devise a plan to overcome these stupid assumptions I held myself to. What I did was…
    1) Buy a pair of baggy sweatpants I can wear over my gym shorts.
    2) Get a roll of quarters and put them in my car, restocking at the bank whenever it ran low.
    3) Get a parking pass near the gym (was only $65, and is worth it if it’ll get me to the gym)

    Now I wear the sweatpants and jacket to the gym, keeping me warm on the way, so I’m motivated to go. Once at the gym, I don’t need to change because I can just take off the sweatpants anywhere, and I’ll have a locker to put my jacket and pants in. Problem solved! I have been consistent working out all winter thus far 🙂

  45. Julie says:

    Hi Darya,

    I really appreciate you creating a post like this! I’ve been struggling since fall to stay active. This summer I got into running (for the first time) and ran my first 5k in September. I have never felt so amazing!!
    Then the cold weather set in and by November, we had too much snow and freezing temperatures, so I had to abandon my outdoor route. (I live in Canada and it’s been colder than the setting on my freezer for about 12 weeks now)
    I work from home so it takes me a total of 4 steps to go from my bed to my office chair. I’ve tried incorporating biking (I have a stand for my bike) and doing the stairs in my building (5 flights), but it’s not enough. Some days I literally get only 200 steps in an entire day.
    Obviously, I could go join a gym, but money is tight, so I can’t wait to see what suggestions people come up with and which ones you pick. Thanks so much for helping to inspire!

  46. I walk with 2-3 other people from work at lunchtime, two miles, when the weather is good. When it’s not, we pop into our building’s auditorium with stadium seating. We walk up and down the steps and back and forth each row for about 40 minutes. We still get our two miles in and have a lot of fun doing it. Helps when you’re warm and don’t have to worry about falling on ice!

  47. Jean says:

    I’m in the Boston area. I’ve been snowshoeing once. Need more snow!
    I’ll walk outside if it’s not too windy.
    Zumba (1x/week) & yoga (3x/week).

  48. Chelsea says:

    To stay fit (and motivated) I signed up for an April half marathon. Despite not liking the treadmill, it has certainly motivated me to keep logging miles on it on days, such as today, with highs of 6 degrees. To keep me from getting bored, I am also adding in a rotation of 3 different cross training workouts that I have found online. At work, my office actually doesn’t have heat (though the other rooms do…hello, junior partner…) so I rely on a space heater. To keep me getting in added steps, I have been using the space heater less to make sure I’m getting up throughout the day and walking to the conference room or boss’s desk to talk face to face (which is an added bonus!) instead of calling or sending an email.

    I am also working on planning out my meals 3-5 days in advance so that I am not tempted to have to office cookies and pasta dishes and instead get to revel in my homemade Asian chicken lettuce wraps or spaghetti squash and meatballs (topped with canned Arrabiata sauce I made from my garden this summer and stored in my basement to get me through the winter and spring)

    As a foodie and cooking addict, I love cooking batches of chicken vegetable soup, chilis, and slow cooker meals using my homemade chicken or vegetable stocks, all of which I can freeze and take out later for those extra cold, extra busy days.

  49. Jamie says:

    I have had to introduce a combination of things to keep me moving – on days I go to in to the office, I have to force myself to walk rather than take the nice, warm bus. Most days I succeed, but I confess not all. During my workday (totally sedentary job) I try to incorporate the ‘7 minute workout’ a couple of times during the day. I have a small elliptical and try to do that for 5-10 minutes every hour in the evening, to keep from too much sedentary time. And, since getting myself to the gym doesn’t happen as much, I use DVDs or YouTube videos to get more active exercise – it has the nice benefit of letting me try all kinds of workout – yoga, barre, Pilates, Bollywood (so much fun!), kickboxing, kettlebells – there is an amazing array of ways to work out without special equipment.

  50. I actually just moved from Los Angeles to Seattle, and quickly learned that my workouts would have to be adjusted for winter! In California, a run on the beach and barre classes were my go-to. Now in a cold winter, both an outdoor run and walking to a barre class sound terrible.

    Instead, I have incorporated temperature into my daily workouts. I go to hot power yoga every day, where I get the benefit of a warm sauna for an hour in addition to a great workout. There’s something really special and cleansing about working out in 100 degrees when it’s so cold outside, so I’ve used that to my advantage. It calms all my muscles while also strengthening them.

    I’ve also started home workouts. Since I go to yoga every day, I usually just do 10-20 minutes of intervals in my apartment a few times per week. Simple, small exercises that are easy to do in a small space, like push ups/plank work, jumping jacks (which I’m sure my neighbor below me loves!), lunges, and abs work are my go-tos! They build up lean muscle to boost metabolism, while also getting my heart rate up!

    On nicer days in the snow, winter sports are a perfect weekend workout! In a lot of places it’s easy to head to a mountain to ski or snowboard for the day, or at least go snowshoeing (which burns a TON of calories!).

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