For many people, winter means saying goodbye to time spent in the great outdoors. Cold weather banishes summertime fitness favorites like kayaking, swimming and volleyball on the beach. You may have to put these activities on hold for a few months, but there’s so much more you can do inside to stay fit!
Check out eight of the best ways to work your mind and body during the winter.
- Sign up for indoor sports: There might be a foot of snow on the ground, but you can still hit the court! Many of your favorite summertime sports—beach volleyball, hoops and soccer—are available to play indoors at your local recreation center. Sports can motivate you to get out from underneath that pile of blankets and get active. Plus, exercising with a group of friends can help beat the winter blues and hold you accountable for your wintertime fitness goals.
- Try something new: When the weather is warm, people usually go for a jog around the neighborhood. Ice, sleet and snow take away this go-to exercise. Winter is the perfect opportunity to switch up your workout routine! Instead of sitting on the couch with nothing to do, look for indoor activities you’ve always wanted to try. Fencing, kickboxing, rock climbing, dancing—all of these build full-body strength and get your heart rate up.
- Go for a dip: You might not be able to sit on a beach, but if you have access to an indoor swimming pool, you can enjoy this summer activity all year long! For many, swimming is even better for you than running on a treadmill. It’s a low-impact exercise that’s easy on sore joints, allowing you to build cardio endurance without putting wear and tear on your body.
- Walk around the mall: Not everyone has access to an indoor track during winter. If that’s the case for you, walk a few laps inside a nearby mall. A lot of shopping centers have pathways that loop around all the storefronts. Make this activity more challenging by lightly jogging up the stairs to the next floor. It may sound silly to exercise at the mall, but it’s free and prevents you from getting blasted in the face with snow!
- Find an online course: You don’t have to leave home in order to stay active. Online fitness classes bring expert coaches into the comfort of your living room. Skip the gym membership and get in shape with resistance bands, some light dumbbells and your own body weight. Some platforms charge a monthly subscription, but there’s even more free options on the internet. Try different courses each week to give your body a new challenge and stay motivated during the cold, gloomy months.
- Dance your heart out: Many people feel sadder in the winter. The days are shorter, which means our bodies produce more melatonin and less serotonin. This can lead to low energy levels and increased feelings of depression. Crank up some tunes and throw a dance party for yourself at home! The combination of upbeat music and exercise will boost your mood while burning calories. If free style isn’t your thing, enroll in a Zumba class and follow along with choreographed moves.
- Practice yoga at home: Yoga is one of the best exercises during winter because you can practice it anywhere. All you need is a yoga mat and an instructional video—or a flow you’ve made up on your own!. Yoga has the power to instill a sense of calm while improving strength, flexibility and balance. Due to its mood-boosting benefits, yoga is perfect for shaking off those winter blues. Plus, there are countless yoga flows for everyone, from beginners to the master yogi. Many people enjoy yoga so much, they practice it all year round. Once the weather warms up, take your newfound skills to the park!
- Exercise while you watch TV: If you’re going to watch TV for hours, you might as well get up and move your body! You can do any exercise you want, whether that’s yoga, plyometrics, interval training or simply jogging in place. Fit a whole workout session into an episode or complete a few reps during each commercial break. However you exercise, all that matters is your heart is pumping and you’re breaking a sweat.
Winter is a time when many animals settle down and hibernate—but not you! While the cold months make it difficult to stay motivated, sticking to a regular workout schedule will help you feel your best, both physically and mentally. Once you experience that boost of feel-good endorphins, you’ll look forward to many more indoor workout sessions!