How to Keep Working Out When the Days Grow Colder (and Darker)

7 practical — and doable — fitness tips

As the days grow dark, don’t let the wind and cold sideline your workouts. There are ways a solid workout plan can help you bridge the seasons as well as the holidays, says exercise physiologist Christopher Travers, MS.

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Here are some practical tips:

1. Stick with the plan.

No matter what’s in your path, the no. 1 thing to do is stick to your routine. Make as few changes in your current exercise regimen as possible. Make sure to focus on sleep and nutrition as well as exercise. All are a priority for your overall health.

2. Embrace the season.

So it’s snowing outside? This doesn’t need to limit you. You can take advantage of the weather and go cross-country skiing, ice skating or show shoeing. You can switch up your activities based on the weather.

3. Walk the mall.

If it’s just too hard outside to exercise, and you dread the treadmill, you can always walk in a mall. It’s accessible to all people and offers and easy way to walk during the winter months.

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4. Sign up for fitness-related events.

Whether you’re in your own city or traveling, you can sign up for events such as a 5K. Often, the act of registering alone can strengthen your commitment — especially when you pay to participate. In the colder months, you don’t have to run your best time; you can just do it for fun.

5. Shorten your training sessions.

Consider adjusting the length or type of workouts to accommodate a busy holiday season. You can try lower-intensity workouts or interval training. There are also apps that offer shorter workouts. Keep your fitness routines flexible while making sure to show up for them regularly.

6. Indulge for a day (and not for a season).

When you think about it, Thanksgiving, Christmas or Hanukkah celebrations only represent a few days in themselves. You don’t need to indulge from one holiday all the way to the next. Pick and choose the days you’re enjoying family dinners and lavish food spreads.

7. Don’t let travel stop you.

If you plan ahead, you can exercise on the road. If you are a member of a gym, you usually can drop in at facilities in other cities at a nominal cost. You can also sign up for an individual class. Or look for parks or places to exercise around your destination. There are outdoor ice skating rinks in many cities.

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To make it through the colder months with your exercise routine takes some planning and flexibility.

Be intentional about sticking to your routine, even if you have to shorten the workouts or change up the activities themselves to accommodate a busy schedule.

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