Health Benefits

35 Ways to Exercise Outdoors During the Winter

During the colder months it can be tempting to stay inside with a warm drink in a cozy chair. But it’s good for your physical—and mental—health to stay active year-round!

Pairing your outdoor physical activity with the morning sun can help treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Invite a friend or family member to join so you can get companionship at the same time, which helps combat social isolation and loneliness.

Below are a few ideas to inspire your fall and winter outdoor recreation. Some may be available as organized activities in your community. Check your local resources.

  1. Go skiing or snowboarding.
  2. Learn how to walk in snowshoes.
  3. Skate around an ice rink.
  4. Shovel snow. Learn how to do so safely.
  5. Play ice hockey.
  6. Pick up trash around town.
  7. Build snow sculptures or a snow fort.
  8. Splash through puddles after a rainstorm.
  9. Run sprints or stairs.
  10. Have a snowball fight.
  11. Go for a ride on a fat tire bike.
  12. Explore your city—walk or ride your bike.
  13. Go for a jog or a run.
  14. Play with your kids or grandkids.
  15. Pick up a tennis match.
  16. Explore your local farmer’s market (PDF).
  17. Go ice fishing.
  18. Practice cross-country skiing.
  19. Learn to play pickleball.
  20. Go down a hill on a sled.
  21. Rake the leaves in your—or a neighbor’s—yard.
  22. Prepare your garden for the spring. Winter is the perfect time to prune roses and add mulch.
  23. Volunteer to walk a shelter dog or a friend’s pet.
  24. Chop firewood.
  25. Make snow angels.
  26. Collect leaves with pretty fall colors.
  27. Go birdwatching.
  28. Gather evergreens to decorate your house.
  29. Spot animal tracks.
  30. Go stargazing.
  31. Create a stick maze.
  32. Challenge your friends to a game of HORSE or flag football.
  33. Visit a botanical garden. Winter can be a great time to see what you missed in the spring.
  34. Take a polar bear plunge.
  35. Chase a sunrise or sunset.

Here are a few additional considerations when exercising outdoors during the cooler months:

  • Know how to stay safe in a thunderstorm and a snowstorm.
  • Know the signs and treatment of hypothermia.
  • Carry water and snacks.
  • Since the sun sets earlier in the winter, carry reflective gear and flashlights, if needed.
  • Wear layers—preferably with base layers that are warm yet wick sweat from your body.
  • Have the proper equipment, from supportive shoes to essential gear.
  • If needed, grab a first aid kit.
  • Ensure your phone is fully charged.

Our health plans offer events and resources designed to improve your health and well-being. Many of them are free and open to the public!