Winter Time Workouts

Photo credit: Daniele Zanni / / CC BY-NC-SA
Photo credit: Daniele Zanni / / CC BY-NC-SA

So the first of this season’s snow has finally hit the ground and while many are groaning and moaning about the additional shoveling and griping about the cold, the rest of us are so happy that we can’t hardly wait until the weekend or after work to go throw on some cross-country skis or snowshoes and hit the trails.

The fact of the matter is weather patterns suck, but if you’re living in a part of the world that gets lots of snow fall, you either have one of two choices. Succumb to the elements and huddle away in a dark cave for a matter of months until it all melts and the sun comes out once again or you can deal with it and get out there to play in the snow just like you did when you were little.

The only thing that’s changed from that early childhood memories of you running up and down the streets sledding and rolling around in the snow doing snow angels every five feet is you.

Just because there’s snow on the ground doesn’t really warrant an excuse not to exercise. In fact I think it gives you more opportunity to get out and enjoy what mother nature has to offer.

There are tons of activities that you can do to build up a good sweat and get in a great workout beside those essential weight lifting sessions that help keep you strong and fit.

Here are some great activities that you can do just about anywhere when you have snow.

  • Build a snowman. Not only will you get the lower body engaged, but hoisting heavy snowballs on top of one another is great for the core too. Think atlas stones in strongman competitions.
  • Build a snowfort. Your kids will love you for it and you can get back at them for all the endless nights you spent taking care of their whines and complaints with a well placed snowball or two. I always refer to Calvin and Hobbes for inspiration here.
  • Shovel snow out of a neighbor’s driveway. Use proper form and lift with your legs not with your back of course. It’s a great core and leg workout, plus it’s a nice thing to do.
  • Take the kids around the block on the sled. This is a great leg work out and you can keep the family involved too.
  • Go sledding with the kids. Not only is this an awesome fun time, but climbing up and down a hill a couple of times is quite a workout through deep snow.
  • Go for a snowshoe adventure. I love snowshoes. It’s the best way to go hiking anywhere. And I do mean anywhere. If you feel limited by the places you can go while hiking around, try hiking around with snowshoes. You’ll never know what you were missing until you’ve gone hiking in the wilderness going where very few even dared because you can literally walk above and beyond the trails.
  • Cross country skiing is another one of my favorite wintertime activities. This too is a great deal of exercise for the legs, especially the hip flexors and glutes. Get on a trail and go for speed or take a short stroll where no one else wants to go. It’s up to you.
  • If all else fails just go for a nice walk in the park. Trudging through some knee deep snow for 30 minutes is a helluva workout and you’ll feel it for days later with the added range of motion you need to plod through big drifts of snow.

You see snow and winter conditions are no excuse to get out of a good workout. In many cases this little invention of mother nature proves to test us in unique ways. Don’t let the snow be your downfall this year with the upcoming holiday season.

Get out there and play.

Photo credit: Daniele Zanni / / CC BY-NC-SA


Jess Howland
Jess Howland is a Veteran US Army Captain serving as Master of Youth Awesomeness and Strength Coach for Hostyle Conditioning in Orleans, ON. Jess holds a BS degree in Exercise Science from Oregon State University, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), among other training and nutritional certifications. A simple country boy turned lifetime fitness enthusiast and passionate trainer, who inspires everyone he meets to be involved in fitness, strength training and optimal nutrition in support of his personal motto Be Strong, Be Fast, and Be Resilient.Known for his high intensity, hybrid programs and never ending pursuit of fitness endeavors his former colleagues call him by his nickname CAPTAIN SMASH (CPT SMASH) or just SMASH. Jess coaches a wide variety of people as he believes in Hostyle Conditioning’s mission of transforming the ordinary lives of men and women into leading extraordinary lives that are improved through a blend of hybrid strength training and dynamic cardio conditioning. Jess has established himself as a lead trainer in Youth Strength and Conditioning, as well as specialty programming for special populations as military, police/firefighter, nurses and strength sport competitors. As a professional coach, Jess loves what he does to provide purpose, direction and motivation to those who feel that they need help in getting to from A (current fitness level) to B (goal fitness level).

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  1. Annually we take the kids around our neighbourhood either in the sled or the covered stroller (depending on the weather) and we walk around to see all the Christmas lights!

  2. i seriously need to be more active in the winter months. instead of sitting in the house i definitely gotta get outside even if its just for a walk.

  3. Dear Kristen,

    Yes, the winter time is often spent indoors, but with a little will power you can get yourself out and doing something entirely new and fun.

    Think of it as an adventure in trying something new. That’s how I picked up Crosscountry skiing. Turns out it’s now one of my favorite things to do in the winter time.

    Plus if you can find friends that are interested in going with you that’s a bonus too.

    I’ve often thought of making a social outing on Cross Country skis or snowshoeing. That might be interesting!


  4. I got my wife a pair of cross-country skis for Christmas and it’s awesome! We go out in the woods and hit some trails for an hour or so, come back drenched and having fun.



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