Last Updated on May 21, 2023 by Michael Brockbank
Ah, the holidays. Everything from September 1st through December 31st is my favorite time of year. However, the winter can put a damper on exercise for some. I know I’m less motivated to walk in the snow. So, what can we do during this time of year to get fit?
It all comes down to how you view the winter months and what you have at your disposal.
For instance, I usually view the winter with a higher sense of positivity than many. Instead of seeing four inches of snow on the ground to shovel as a chore, I see an opportunity to see how many calories I can burn.
7 Forms of Exercise I Love During the Winter Months
You’d think that living in Colorado, I’d be a skier. But you’d be wrong. I’ve lived here for more than 20 years and I have to get on a slope. So, while skiing would be an obvious form of exercise in the winter, it’s not something I do.
Instead, I tend to do as much as I can around the house. Well, time permitting, anyway.
1. Shoveling Snow for Calorie Burn
As I said, I am a fan of shoveling snow. That’s because I’ve gamified it so shoveling doesn’t feel like a mundane chore. For me, it’s all about how many calories I can burn this time as opposed to the last.
It helps if you’re a dork when it comes to recording Fitbit data in a spreadsheet. In fact, I’m going to go shovel some snow after I finish this post. It’s one of those productive things you can do around the house that elevates the heart while using a variety of muscles.
So, before you dread suiting up and shoveling the sidewalk or driveway, get it into your mind that it’s simply another form of exercise.
2. 20 Minutes of Vigorous Cleaning Every Day
When you go all-in with a 20-minute session of vigorous house cleaning, you can work yourself up into a decent sweat. And since it’s the winter months, you might have people tracking mud and snow onto your floors.
When it comes to calorie burn, sweeping and mopping is one of the best house chores.
In any case, pushing yourself to clean as much as possible within a 20-minute window benefits your body and your home. So, like shoveling snow, just view it as another form of exercise.
If you plan on having family or friends over for the holidays, you want a clean home anyway, right?
3. Playing the Xbox Kinect, Obviously
Now, I try to play the Xbox Kinect as much as I can. That’s because I can easily burn 400 calories within 30 minutes of playing any number of games.
Unfortunately, during the winter, the sun comes right in through my living room windows, which disrupts the sensor. However, when it’s snowing, I have an opportunity to play anything I wish.
Another positive is how I can play an hour or two before dinner, as the sun goes down shortly after 4 pm. I’ve seen some positive results by exercising in the afternoons.
4. Using the Stability Ball for Winter Exercise
One of my most used pieces of exercise equipment in the home is the Spri stability ball. It goes by a lot of different names, such as a yoga or exercise ball, and it can be a lot of fun.
During the winter, I often exercise more with the ball.
I’m getting back into the habit of using it while watching something on Netflix. Not only is it used as a place to sit in my living room, but it also has a lot of flexibility as exercise equipment.
Even just bouncing on the ball while watching a TV show works out the thighs. After 10 minutes or so, you’ll definitely feel the difference.
5. Using My Cheap Home Gym
I am slowly building a home gym from Five Below. In reality, you can pick up a slew of exercise equipment for less than $30. That’s actually one of the videos I want to do in the near future…what kind of workout equipment you can get without spending a lot of money?
Anyway, when it’s cold outside and you really don’t want to go anywhere, it’s easy to dive into something like the sliding mat, exercise dice, or use the dumbbells for some muscle work.
Another one of my favorite pieces of equipment is the resistance cables. You can make these as difficult as you’d like by adjusting how many cables are used. Well, as long as you get ones that can be altered.
A nice thing about the cables is that they can be stored virtually anywhere.
6. Going to Planet Fitness…When Possible
Since I pay $20 per month for Planet Fitness, I try to get there as often as I can. Unfortunately, the winter months make it difficult for me to exercise at the gym.
Mostly because my van is broken down and I don’t always have access to a vehicle. Sure, I could walk as Planet Fitness is only half a mile up the road. But when it’s 20℉ or below, the motivation to walk is a bit hard to muster.
Still, it’s nice to use the weight machines when possible during the winter.
7. Yes…Walking is Still on the Table
Although the cold makes it more difficult to enjoy a nice walk, it’s still something I do during the season. If you look in my backyard, you’ll see as much of a trail in the snow as you would during the summer trampling down the weeds.
Depending on how cold it is, I’ll cut my walks down by about five minutes or so. But I’ll try to do more of them throughout the day to get in the same overall total for steps and calorie burn.
Just make sure you’re being careful out there in the snow. It’s easier to twist an ankle or slip and fall. If it’s too slick, go back inside and call it a day. It’s not worth severely hurting yourself for a 10-minute jaunt.
What About Holiday Goodies and Exercise?
The holiday season is full of goodies and treats. This is probably why a lot of people decide not to care about fitness until January 1st when so many of them make New Year’s Resolutions to slim down.
Personally, I am able to enjoy holiday snacks without gaining weight. No, it’s not because I have an ultra-high metabolism. In fact, I’m 46 and am definitely feeling the passage of time.
I’m able to enjoy holiday goodness because of how I view food.
The more active you are, the less likely you’ll pack on holiday pounds. Especially if you get your mind right and put in the effort to be more physical before the end of the year.
You don’t need to burn yourself out at the gym because you had that holiday cookie. It doesn’t hurt, but you don’t have to push yourself to exhaustion.
It comes down to two simple elements: moderation and activity.
For example, two cupcakes from Walmart means I would have to play for at least 25 minutes of the Xbox Kinect. That’s because I usually burn between 350 and 400 calories per session. Two cupcakes are roughly 360 to 400 calories in total, depending on the type and brand.
In other words, if you want those goodies, make sure you “pay” for them by doing something extra today.
What Exercise Is Your Favorite in the Winter?
I know a lot of people don’t really want to think about health and fitness during the holidays. But if you try to get in a bit of exercise while making sure you don’t overindulge, you don’t have to worry about what the scale says on January 1st.
When it’s cold outside and the snow starts to flutter, how do you ensure physical activity?