How to Stay Active This Winter without Going to the Gym

It’s important for moms to stay active in winter to maintain our physical and emotional health. Here are great activity options when wintertime challenges make it difficult to stay active.

Whether it’s winter weather, sickness, busy schedules, or simply personal preference, it’s not always possible to make it to the gym consistently in the winter.

Many of us have vowed to up our activity level for the New Year, but wintertime can pose many challenges to weekly habits—and some of these challenges are simply out of our control.

How to Stay Active This Winter Without Going to the Gym

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t squeeze physical activity into your schedule during the winter. In fact, it’s arguably more important to exercise in winter than in any other season.

Not only does physical activity improve your body’s physical performance through building strength and endurance. Think broader: It also lifts your mood, increases energy, improves sleep, reduces stress, evens out hormones, combats SAD (seasonal affective disorder), and has a myriad of other health benefits (heart health, bone health, gut health, and more).

For the sanity of our households alone, we should embrace physical activity as moms.

Here are a few ideas for staying active without going to the gym that most of us moms can handle—even in wintertime with cold temperatures and shortened daylight hours.

Play with Your Kids Outside

Being outside with your kids is the low-hanging fruit for most moms. Kids love being outside regardless of the weather, so if you’re outside with your kids, odds are you won’t be sitting down. Use this active time to help your kids with toys, pick up random trash from your yard, get the mail, organize the shoes by the doors, break down boxes for recycling…you get the idea. Plus, the fresh air is inspiring.

And if you’re fortunate enough to get snow in the winter, we all know how active you have to be to build a snowman, have a snowball fight, go sledding and simply shovel off your driveway.

Walk Your Neighborhood

If you’re feeling tired, cold, overwhelmed, or lazy, one of the best activities you can do is to simply take a walk. Walk your neighborhood, your city block, or up and down your long driveway. Walking is a low-intensity movement that all of us can do regardless of size, shape or fitness level. Even in the winter, you can layer up and add gloves and a hat to push through a 30-minute walk in cold weather.

To up the intensity a bit, do a set of walking lunges, air squats, or pushups every 5 minutes. Your neighbors will think you’re crazy, but all those endorphins will make you feel so good you won’t even care.

hiking with kids in winter

Go Hiking

Hiking is one of my favorite winter activities. Not only is it a great form of exercise, but winter hikes give you a view of nature that you miss in spring or summer when the leaves are green and everything is in bloom.

Drive-up from Atlanta to North Georgia to some amazing hikes near the Appalachian Trail. You’ll discover mountain views for miles, hidden icicles despite sunny weather, and a big dose of fresh air.

Dress in layers so you can begin to take them off as you warm up. And of course, pack water and an easy hiking snack.

Take the Stairs

Whether you’re a working mom or you stay at home, we’re all in weekly (or daily) situations where we’re faced with a set of stairs. From office buildings to medical buildings, stairs are always an option, but most of us gravitate toward the ease of an elevator.

But wintertime is the perfect season to challenge yourself to take the stairs. Whether you work on the 3rd floor of a building each day, are taking your kids to doctor’s appointments on the 4th floor of a medical building, or if you stay at home and stack all the stuff you want to take to the upstairs in a pile for the end of the day. Change things up and take the stairs—and take them often.

Taking the stairs will boost your heart rate a bit and help to wake up your body in the winter. Make it a daily habit and you may even see some physical results in your legs!

home workout to stay active in winterComplete a Workout or Yoga at Home

Whether you can’t make it to the gym or simply don’t like gyms, home workouts are a great option. Set yourself up for success by organizing your at-home workout products (dumbbells, resistance bands, yoga mat, etc.) in your chosen location, which could be your garage, basement, or even your living room.

As busy moms, often the most popular times to workout at home are before work, after work, or during naptime, if you stay at home. There are countless paid home workout programs such as Beach Body or Peloton. But thanks to YouTube, you’ll also have plenty of free options for bodyweight workouts, dumbbell/kettlebell workouts, yoga, and more.

painting chore in winter to stay activeElevate Your Chores

Last winter during our never-ending quarantine, I took it upon myself to paint several rooms of my house. It was a great way to use up energy while stuck at home—and it turned out to be a super productive way to use my time.

If painting isn’t on your to-do list, use wintertime to tackle other home projects such as deep cleaning, organizing closets, updating your tile backsplash, renovating an old dresser, decluttering, pruning your yard, and more.

Despite the sometimes gloomy weather and cold temperatures, wintertime can be a season where you stay active and productive. Not only will physical activity improve your physical health, but it will also boost your emotional health.

What’s your favorite way to stay active in winter?

For other wellness tips, check out our recent post Seven Tips for Creating a Consistent Exercise Routine.

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As a Georgia native and Atlanta area resident for 12 years, Haley, her husband, and their four kids recently relocated to the foothills of the Northeast Georgia mountains. They now embrace small-town life with the great outdoors at their fingertips, while maximizing their two-acre homestead that includes two dozen chickens, a hive of honeybees, a muscadine vineyard, and a berry patch. Day to day, Haley helps her husband with his small business, manages their on-site Airbnb rental, and wears many (often outlandish) hats for their four kids. But when she has any extra time, you'll most likely find her cooking in the kitchen, being active outdoors with her family, or blogging at