by Mountain House February 21, 2017

How to Stay Active Indoors in the Winter

Staying active in the winter can be difficult. Short days mean the morning comes late and the evening comes early. It can be hard to fit in a workout around everything else going on, especially if that means getting out in the frigid darkness.

There is hope, however: staying active in the winter, while sometimes it may seem impossible, in reality just requires a little extra forethought.

Here are four ways to keep your blood pumping when the sun is shy and winter is nigh.

1. Indoor fitness classes

CrossFit is cult. Right? That’s what you may have heard at least. But if it is a cult, it’s a cult that’s a lot more active than you might be this winter.

Group indoor fitness classes like CrossFit, SoulCycle, Zumba and the like -- they are all great ways to make sure you get moving this winter. There is group accountability making sure you actually come into the gym. You start to compete with the other attendants, make friends, and become part of an active community that pushes each other inside and outside the class.

girl lifting rope

There’s a reason these classes are so popular: they get you to do that “workout” thing you’ve been talking about for a long time but haven’t actually done.

And anyone who claims they are a cult doesn’t really understand what a cult is. So, CrossFitters have a tight-knit community that likes to work out. Is that a cult? Or is that a team?

Joining in on group classes is a great way to be active in the winter. You get oversight from instructors, who push and motivate you to move more, better. But they can also be pricey. Thankfully, if price is prohibitive for you, there are other options.

2. Climbing gyms

You may see this and think, “I’m not a climber. Why would I go to a climbing gym?”

Sure, you’re not a climber -- but why not? Because you haven’t been climbing before?

You are what you tell yourself you are. If you’re a person who tries new things, then you can become a climber. Or you may try it and find it’s not for you. More often than not, though, people tend to stick around the gym after their first few times going.

Climbing gyms are a great way to combine technical movement with strength, and most gyms have enough variety for anyone: from simple rope climbs to bouldering, they will be able to walk you through the different types of rock climbing.

There are other benefits to joining a rock gym. For one, season passes tend to be cheaper than group fitness classes. You can come and go as you please, so you don’t have to worry about rushing from work at 5:00 to make the 5:30 class (because there are no classes).

Plus, you form a community in the winter that you can carry into the summer. This is true of other group fitness options, but for climbing it’s different. In the winter, you all climb inside. When spring comes, the cocoon (and cold weather) breaks and you can all fly forth into the woods to climb on real rocks.

person holding climbing rope rubbing powder on hands

Rock climbing is as much about the movement and exercise as it is about the community. Join a gym to get moving in a new way, to build your rock-pulling practice, and to become a part of a new and fun community.

3. Yaktrax and a headlamp

The habits of lone wolves die hard. Do you like to do your own thing no matter what? Pull on a pair of Yaktrax, layer up, flip on the headlamp, and get going.

The bottom line: you can still run in the winter. You just need a little extra gear and a little extra caution.

person running in snow

Winter days being short, a headlamp is almost as necessary as your jacket. If you live in an icy area, Yaktrax will make your run safer. Just make sure you know where you’re going, you have enough battery, and someone knows you’re out there. The elements are serious -- we recommend sticking to inhabited lands where possible should you get hurt or lost or both.

4. Outdoor meetup group

Form a group on Meetup.com for outdoor enthusiasts. Get a couple of people in a room, and get creative. Maybe there’s a hike nearby on a sunny slope that’s almost always thawed, and that you’ve not yet heard about.

Outdoor communities are a great way to keep active. We push each other, we share knowledge, and we look out for each other. Meetup.com is a great way to find like-minded strangers who are trying to solve the same problem as you.


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