How to stay active outdoors in the winter

By Trevor McDonald

Winter 2019 has been... something else. A polar vortex hit the Midwest with no mercy and brought dangerous temperatures with it. These intense snow days make it difficult to get out, get active and get sweaty. Luckily, there have been many days this winter that are snowy and beautiful without the harsh temperatures. 

Still, it can be easy to make like a bear and go into hibernation mode. The temperatures outside drop, the temperature inside goes up, and your couch looks oh-so-comfortable and cozy. We're here to encourage you to get out those layers and go outside. Here are a few ways you can stay active until spring arrives. 

Play in the snow

If you live in an area where snow blankets the ground in wintertime, then a great way to stay active is by reconnecting with your inner child and getting outdoors for some play time. Bundle up in your snow pants, grab some friends and head to your local park. You can build snowmen, bring a sled and slide down the hills, and just have fun! Playing outside is a great way to have fun and also stay active while taking advantage of the seasonal weather.

Schedule a ski weekend

Another great way to take advantage of winter weather and stay active is by planning a ski weekend. You can head to a local mountain range, or use this as an opportunity to hit a popular spot like Breckenridge or Vail, Colorado.
Skiing is an excellent calorie burner. According to, on average, moderate downhill skiing  burns "400 calories an hour." And this is just the skiing part! You'll also get a workout from navigating getting on and off the ski lifts, pushing yourself up from falls, and walking around on skis. Plus, your body has to put in some extra work just to keep your body warm!
However, if you really want to torch some calories and boost your fitness, you should try uphill cross-country skiing, which can burn up to 1,000 calories an hour, according to the same article! You can also try out snowboarding, which burns about the same amount of calories as downhill skiing. Both sports are incredible ways to keep yourself active in the wintertime.
There are plenty of other new outdoor sports that you can take a whack at as well, including snowshoeing or even ice skating. If you have kids or loved ones to do these activities with, bring them. Trying new activities together as a family is a great way to create new memories and maybe even start a new tradition.

Take a nature walk

If it’s not snowing outside (or if it is, but you’re willing to brave the cold!), get the family or a group of friends together and go for a long walk outside. The change of seasons that winter brings can be truly breathtaking, but in the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s easy to forget to take notice. Enjoy the winter season, and stay active by going for a walk and observing the sights, sounds, and smells of wintertime.

Take care of the yard work

When it snows in winter, you need to put in the necessary work to keep your house, your driveway and sidewalk safe. After all, just because it snows, doesn’t mean that life comes to a halt! Depending on where you live, your local city may be better about cleaning up the roads than in other spots, but you should take the necessary actions to keep your house and its surrounding areas safe. Plus, this is a great way to stay active in the winter!
So, ditch the snow-blower, get out the shovel, and head to the driveway. Your back and arm muscles will get quite the workout from a day of shoveling.

Don’t forget about your diet

It’s important to take care of yourself from the inside out and eat things that will nourish and sustain you, no matter the season. Use winter and your time in the house as an opportunity to try out new healthy recipes. Delicious, vegetable-laden soups are the perfect winter meal!

In addition, winter is a great time to take a break from or avoid alcohol. Especially after the indulgent holiday season, your body will appreciate a light detox. Consider giving up alcohol for a few weeks every so often. Your body will thank you for it!
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you’re confined to stay indoors in winter! Use these ideas to stay active and take care of yourself, even when the temperature drops outside.