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7 Tips to Stay Active in the Winter

December 21, 2023 by Helen Suen

Physiotherapy Tips to Stay Active in the WinterAs the days get shorter and the temperature drops, we slowly put away the boats and bikes for the next few months as our streets are taken over by white fluff and howling winds. It’s often a time when we tend to become more sedentary as we move towards indoor activities. Here are a few tips to maintain regular exercise habits and stay active through the winter blues.

1. Make a Monthly Challenge

Each month, pick one exercise and aim to complete a certain number of repetitions within that month. For example, this month, my challenge is to complete 500 squats. Make it fun by crossing off each rep you do on a calendar to track your progress visually. This type of challenge allows you to have a flexible schedule; you might do 100 reps on some days, and only 20 on other days, but they all still count towards your collective monthly goal. The next month, change it up to a different exercise to give you some variety. Don’t forget to reward yourself for reaching your goal!

2. Enjoy the Crisp Fresh Air Outside

Just because there’s some snow on the ground and the weather is a bit chilly, doesn’t mean you need to stop going outside. A brisk outdoor walk or run is 100% possible if you have the right clothing (lots of layers, a hat, and gloves) and good shoes with traction. Don’t forget to bring a pair of sunglasses during the day as the snow strongly reflects the sun. Also, remember to wear reflective gear so that you are visible when it’s dark out.

3. Group Workouts

Gather a group of friends to do a home workout at a specific time every week to help keep one another accountable. Doing exercise in a group setting helps with adherence and positive reinforcement from the group encourages us to push through the last few reps. You can take turns leading the workout or pick a different theme each week (ie. workout to only Taylor Swift songs) to keep it fun and enjoyable.

4. Join a Club, League, or Drop-In Program

This is a great way to be active and socialize at the same time! Run clubs will run all year round and you can choose to do all or some of the group runs as it suits your schedule. Sports leagues can be a commitment as short as 6-8 weeks for 1-2 hours per week. Not only are you being physically active but you get to meet new people and perhaps find a new hobby. Try something new with a low commitment “learn-to” class such as curling, trapeze or rock climbing.

5. YouTube / On Demand Videos

In the digital era, there are loads of workout videos available online on free services like YouTube and paid apps like Peloton. You may need to try a few different options to see what the best fit for you is, but with a range of workouts like yoga, Pilates, and HIIT, you are bound to find one that suits your style. These guided programs come in different lengths, making it easy to squeeze a quick 15 minute workout into your schedule, or take a full hour to exercise when you have the time.

6. Make it a Habit

Just like you schedule your meetings and appointments, schedule non-negotiable time on specific days to be active. Making exercise part of your regular routine will help to make it a habit and it might even become something you look forward to every week. Set a regular day and time in your schedule as a non-negotiable for exercise.

7. Mall Walking / PATH Walks / Stairs

Outdoor activities in the dead of winter are not for everybody. But there are lots of accessible indoor options. The stairs in your office building or condo are a quick and easy way to get a few extra steps in. The PATH underground system is a fantastic way to get around the downtown core, get those steps in, and perhaps succumb to the temptation of the many coffee shops and bakeries. If you like a routine and circular paths, malls can be a great place to cover a lot of ground while following a familiar repetitive route.

There are plenty of options to stay active in the winter and it’s a great time to try something new and perhaps discover a new hobby. Let us know which one you try out!

Helen Suen

Helen Suen is a registered physiotherapist practicing at Rebalance Sports Medicine in downtown Toronto.

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Yonge & AdelaideRebalance Clinic Yonge Adelaide
110 Yonge Street Suite 905
Toronto, ON M5C 1T4
T: (416) 777-9999
E: [email protected]
University & KingRebalance Clinic University King
155 University Avenue Suite 303
Toronto, ON M5H 3B7
T: (416) 306-1111
E: [email protected]

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