What We Can Do In The Winter: 6 Workouts That Are Perfect for Winter

What We Can Do In The Winter: 6 Workouts That Are Perfect for Winter

We get it. Sometimes the cold weather and dark days have all of us craving a cozy blanket and our couch — not so much the gym.

But movement is important all year long (with benefits spanning nearly every facet of health), especially during the winter months if you’re feeling low in energy or your mood is glum (exercise can be a helpful antidote to the winter blues).

So change up your workout routine to add some activities that are ideal for this time of year and that you look forward to.

“Workouts that elevate your heart rate will help you stay warm and work up a nice sweat,” says Jess Evans, a certified USA Boxing coach and trainer with the virtual boxing gym FightCamp.

Or use the winter elements to your advantage, says Wisconsin-based LaLa Duncan, a certified pain-free performance specialist and virtual strength and conditioning trainer for the gym Dogpound. Workouts you do in the snow, for example, force you to strengthen the muscles that help stabilize you and increase calorie burn. Walking in the snow, for example, requires more effort than walking on dry pavement, she says. “Walking on uneven surfaces is superb for engaging your core muscles,” she explains.

Here are eight winter-friendly workouts you’ll find yourself looking forward to when the cold weather blows in.

1. Brisk Walking

It’s simple, but it can absolutely deliver on big fitness gains, says Evans. Walking works the muscles of the lower body and is lower impact on your joints. It improves cardiovascular fitness and promotes good bone health. Do it in nearly any weather by dressing appropriately.

But be sure to wear gear that covers your head, face and hands, which tend to dissipate heat quickly. Don't forget to wear shoes. Choose waterproof snow boots or sneakers (if there will be precipitation) that have good traction (or grip) for environmental factors such as snow, slush or crushed ice.

2. Skiing

Skiing can be an intense or more moderate workout, depending on your skill level and the types of routes you do. Both downhill and cross-country skiing can improve flexibility, build up your core muscles, and of course, work those legs.

It is important to take steps before exercising to avoid injuries due to tight muscles caused by the cold, such as making sure your body is warm before starting a strenuous workout.

3. Sledding

Unleash your inner child with the classic winter activity of sledding. It’s fun and great for people of all ages. “Everyone in the family can enjoy sledding,” says Duncan.

Aside from the fun, you can reap cardiovascular and strength benefits, too, especially if you’re the one carrying the sled up the hill.

4. Snowshoeing

If there’s snow on the ground nearby, try making your winter walk a snowshoe trek (snowshoes look somewhat like racquets that you strap on your shoes or boots to allow you to walk on top of the snow rather than sinking into it). It can also be a great way to explore parks or some hiking trails suitable for the sport.

“It’s a great lower-body workout that targets your glutes, calves, hip abductors, quads, hamstrings, and core,” Duncan says.

5. Boxing

If you want to skip the outdoor workout, find a boxing gym nearby or call up a virtual boxing workout. (Several gyms offer live or on-demand classes.) It’s great for relieving stress and improving cardiovascular fitness because it gets your heart rate up, Evans says.

6. Pilates and Yoga

If you notice tight hip flexor muscles or hamstrings, it could be because many of us tend to spend more time sitting inside during the colder months of the year compared with when the weather is more hospitable, says Jessica Roberts, a nationally certified Pilates teacher based in Reno, Nevada.

The strengthening components of Pilates and yoga also help prep your body for unexpected jerks and twists that can happen with those winter sports.

Plus, both are indoor-friendly activities for days the weather is too inclement for you to want to get out in it.

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