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Quick Tips: Staying Active in Cold Weather

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You can be active outdoors, even when it's cold. Try these tips to have fun and stay safe.

  • Bundle up and take the dog (or just yourself) for a walk.
  • Rake leaves or do other yard work.
  • Try a new winter activity like skating, cross-country skiing, or snowshoeing.
  • Shovel snow.
  • Be safe while you're active outside.
    • Try to do your walking and other activities when it's light out. If possible, go on your lunch break. If you go when it's dark out, walk with a partner.
    • Try not to slip on wet or icy ground. You can buy "grippers" for your shoes to help keep you from slipping.
    • Avoid outdoor activity in extreme cold, and take the wind chill into account.
    • If you have health issues, such as asthma, COPD, or heart problems, or if you haven't been active in a long time, check with your doctor before you start a new activity.

When you're active outdoors, choose clothes that fit well and keep you warm and dry. For protection, it's best to wear:

  • A warm hat. If it's very cold, you also may want to wear covering for your face, such as a scarf.
  • Layers of clothing. Layering will help keep you warm. Wear waterproof outer layers to keep you dry.
  • Clothing made of wool or synthetic (not cotton) fabric. These will keep you from losing body heat even if the fabric gets wet.
  • Wool or synthetic (not cotton) socks and waterproof shoes. Socks and shoes should fit closely but should not be too tight.
  • Mittens rather than gloves. This way, your fingers are together so you can roll them into a fist for warmth.

Sometimes it isn't safe to be active outdoors. There are many ways to be active indoors. Here are a few ideas.

  • Go for walks—indoors.

    Take a walk at the mall with a friend. Or check with local schools and churches. They may have indoor gyms where you can walk.

  • Get fit while you watch TV or listen to music.

    Get some hand weights or stretch bands. You can use cans of food as weights if you don't want to buy weights.

  • Use an online exercise video or a smartphone app.

    This can be a fun way to stay active at home.

  • Do active housework.

    This may include activities such as sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, doing laundry, or washing the windows.

  • Join a gym or health club.

    You can use equipment like weights, treadmills, stair-climbers, or exercise bikes.

  • Try a fitness class or a new indoor activity.

    Examples include dancing and water aerobics. Many cities have community centers that offer affordable fitness classes.

  • Get involved in indoor sports leagues.

    Many cities offer indoor sports like basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer, or swimming.

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Credits

Current as of: January 26, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Elizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine