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  • Writer's pictureLori Goodsell

Fun Winter Fitness Ideas

Updated: May 19, 2023

a couple taking a winter hike

Fun ideas for winter fitness abound in this part of the country. This is the time of year we all worry about what will spend the next four-six months doing other than eating and sleeping. While I would be the first one to say that I am over the winter by March 1, I do love winter and would consider myself a “winter enthusiast”. My friends would tell you, that regardless of the time of year, I can't sit still and will turn into a horrible person if I don't get outside each day.

My favorite fun idea for winter fitness is simply hiking in different areas each week with friends and my big furry dogs. Often one of my friends chooses a local county or state park and we go for a couple hours. We’ve pole hiked in soaking rain, ice storms, negative temps with crazy wind chills and snow storms. It is that brief bit of exercise, outdoors, nature and sanity that I need to get me through the week. Not only do I get fresh air and nature time, I get to catch up with my friends, burn a bunch of calories and the dogs gets some exercise. Win, Win Win!

Secondly, speaking of fun ideas for winter fitness, this one is the great. Fat bikes are all over the place and are pretty fun, especially on single track. While you won't find me out when it is 10 degrees with 20 mph winds. On a nice 20 degree day when I am feeling cooped up, I head out to Lake Rebecca and put my 9.5 miles in. Sounds like a pretty wimpy ride until you do it on snow and ice and cold. For me, it’s perfect. While fat bikes are definitely an investment, I bought a Minnesota 2.0 for half the cost of a Surly as my first bike. I rode the hell out of it until it broke and then bought a really nice Borealis. If you aren’t ready to make the leap, purchase a set of studded tires off of facebook marketplace for your mountain bike and see if winter riding is for you.

Third, snowshoeing has got to be my favorite activity for winter fitness. You burn a tremendous amount of calories and there is nothing more beautiful after a big snow. It’s a great way to get out an explore a marshy or wooded area and since you go slow, you see everything.

Lastly, I have grown to love cross country skiing. For many years, cross country skiing and I have a love/hate relationship. I failed beginner skate skiing class from Gear West for five years. After finally realizing that I could get an extra month out of my Three Rivers Park ski pass by learning to skate ski, I finally just went out by myself once the classic trails closed. I was very very slow but I figured it out. While some people are naturals with the form, I am not. The good news is that when I get frustrated with my cross country skis, I can switch to my classic skis and just walk/glide. While I might not have the form for racing, it is beautiful and a great workout. (Especially with as hard as I struggle at it!)

The bottom line for any of these activities is that they are just like going to the gym; the hardest part is simply getting yourself there. I would highly encourage anyone looking for fun ideas for winter fitness to build time into their schedule each week to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Your body and mind will thank you. Depression and simple bad moods increase when sunlight and exercise decrease. Combat your winter blues and get outside, take a nature break and see how much better you feel! While all of these things are fun, don't be surprised when you need to schedule a tune-up in my office. It's the price of living and active healthy life. You can book online at

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