Ways to Stay Active When it Gets Colder Outside

It’s November and where I live, it’s starting to get nippy outside! I know from experience that this is when I usually slow down when it comes to workouts. I love running outside, but the thought of going outside when it gets colder out is almost nauseating. However, once I’m out there and moving, I don’t regret it! So, of course, I had to find ways to make going outside for my exercise more feasible.

Here are 5 ways that worked for me last year and that I will try again this year.

Keep in mind that these methods are not fool-proof. You’ll still need to find your own motivation to get outdoors. The weather is not always going to be great, but you can still find time to get outside and move your body if you want to keep your fitness going strong throughout the colder months.

shirtless guys holding skis on a ski hill

1) Wear warmer clothes for colder weather

What you wear plays a large role in your ability to exercise in cold weather. Find clothes that are not just warm, but also stay dry. You risk hypothermia if your core body temperature falls below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. This could potentially lead to frostbite!

Avoid cotton, as these will soak up sweat and rain, and hold in moisture. A better choice could be a synthetic fiber like polyester, nylon, or polypropylene. These dry quickly and wick away most moisture. If you only have cotton clothes, you can layer up, and try to trap as much warmth in!

Lastly, it’s important to protect your extremities, since these will likely get cold first. This means wearing gloves, a hat, and warm socks.  

Remember, get out of your cold, wet clothes as soon as you get home, and hop in the shower. You don’t want to sit in your sweat for too long as your body comes back to normal body temperature.

2) Fun outdoor activities

The colder weather isn’t always a bad thing! It provides opportunities for different kinds of exercise and activities that you can’t do at all when it’s warm.

Some of these include skating, tubing, sledding, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, hockey, curling… the list goes

2 kids on a sled


Try finding something new that you may have never tried before. Or maybe just go for a walk and listen to a podcast. In rain, shine, or snow there is always something to do. With seasonal affective disorder affecting 5% of American adults, it’s important to get outside even if you don’t really feel like it. Finding something fun to do outside no matter the weather can help reduce anxiety and depression, improve sleep, and boost your immune system.

3) Routine

Creating a routine or a habit of going outdoors every day even in colder weather can make going outside daily even easier! I find that because I’m working from home, I have more flexibility in which hours I go outside for my exercise, whether it’s a run or a walk. Because of that flexibility, I try to choose the warmest time of day to go out. This usually means I’m out for my lunch break at 2 or 3 pm. Sun also helps, so on sunny days, convincing myself to start moving is not that tough.

When all else fails, use the 10-minute rule. Lack of motivation is no excuse, especially when you know that going out and moving will make you feel 100x better. Try going outside for 10 minutes. If at the 10-minute mark you want to quit, that is the point you have at least given it a shot. You are free to go back inside and then you can at least say you stepped out of your work/home/whatever environment and given yourself some time alone (or with friends!).

4) Workout indoors when it’s too cold

Who says you have to go outside when it’s horribly cold? No one! You make the rules. For those of us not lucky enough to have a Peloton bike or an indoor swimming pool, we may just have to be a bit more creative!

I like to find a workout or yoga class on YouTube. That way I know exactly how long my workout is going to last, and I know that I can do it in the space I’ve got at home. I personally live in a tiny space, so I would prefer to go outside, but if it’s raining (or snowing) sideways, or dangerously cold, I know I will get more out of my workout and will be happier to stay indoors. This is also great when I have a time constraint and can’t quite leave my work for too long.

When gyms open up again, I know I will be in there frequently so that I can add some variety and weight/resistance to my workouts!

5) Breathe properly

I know this sounds weird – you know how to breathe. But breathing in cold air when you’re working out or running outdoors can burn. This is why; Lungs warm and humidify inhaled air to the body temperature, and this starts in the nose and mouth. While inspired air cools the lung tissue, expired air adds heat back to the cooled tissues on the way out of the lung. The burning sensation comes from cold air because it’s dry; this can make it especially difficult for someone with asthma to adjust to the cold air.


One solution is to wear a balaclava that covers the face and neck. Another solution is to inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. The greater the distance the breath has to travel to reach your lungs, the longer the cold air can be warmed up. This will make it tougher to take in oxygen and may make it more difficult to breathe long term, but you will notice your lungs don’t burn as much or don’t feel the cold at all!

No matter how you choose to workout, there is always a way to get outdoors in colder weather. If you have the right routine, clothes, and workout in mind, you can conquer the brutal weather. Remember that your workouts in the cold may not be the same intensity or length, but at least you are getting outside and moving!

Let us know if you have any Winter plans for 2020 and how you plan on moving!

Alexia Palmeri

Alexia Palmeri is a 28-year-old personal development enthusiast! She looks at life experiences as an opportunity to always learn and grow. Alexia is also a broadcast journalism graduate with a passion and knack for communications and media. She is always on the lookout for new trends on social media and keeps up to date with what's happening in the world. In her free time, Alexia enjoys socializing with family and loved ones, being in nature, cooking nourishing meals, and discovering new places to dine and adventure!

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