Staying Active in the Winter: 5 Ideas for Exercising Indoors

It’s starting to get cold, and in most parts of the world, it’s about to get super dark and wet outside. While some aren’t afraid to brave the winter to exercise outdoors, most of us enjoy the warmth and safety of staying inside. The real double edged sword is that winter is usually the season where your body and mind need exercise the most. With multiple occasions for rich food, stressful situations, and seasonal depression, exercise is really our best outlet to combat the winter blues. So how do you stay active in the winter?

We wanted to share a few ideas to get the ball rolling. We researched 5 exercise methods or tools you can use to stay fit indoors this winter. In the end, you’ll need to find a method that fits your lifestyle, but we hope these serve to inspire: 

1)      Active Video Games

Yes, a blog about wellness just suggested you play video games to stay healthy. But these aren’t your grandpa’s video games. Thanks to some innovative gaming systems like Nintendo Wii and Xbox Kinnect, there are some really fun, really active games that can get you moving in your living room. If you think you won’t get a real work-out, try “Just Dance” for the Wii. There is a 100% sweat guarantee.


  • Interactive (you control the game and exercise)
  • Convenient


  • The initial purchase of system and games can be a little pricey
  •  Your living room will smell like a gym

2)      Get Fit Apps

If you have a Smartphone or tablet, there are lots of cheap (or free) apps that can serve as your personal trainer. Some use GPS, some have full work-out programs, and some have great work-out tracking systems. But just about all of them give plenty of inspiration to get you moving. In the world of apps there are lots of choices out there, so get one that will work best for your winter exercise routine. If you visit your app store and use the search term “fitness,” you’ll unleash a gold mine.


  • You can customize an app that fits your lifestyle
  • Convenient
  • Motivating


  • You need to have a Smartphone or tablet (expensive if you don’t already have one)
  • There’s potential that you’ll look like a nerd if you’re toting around a tablet every time you work out. Just saying.

3)      Fitness Classes

If you’re imagining leg warmers and step aerobics, you need to take another look at what classes are out there. Zumba, yoga, Jazzercise, rock gyms, and kick-boxing are just a few of the fitness classes that have found creative ways to bring fun fitness indoors. And, if you want to avoid a class, there’s also a whole new wave of fitness DVD’s out there. Or, if you have cable or satellite TV, there’s a bunch of “Exercise On Demand” at your fingertips. But before you discard the class for the living room fitness, remember that working out with a crew of other health nuts is a great way to stay motivated. If you’re looking for classes, check out your local park/recreation facilities, gyms, or studios. Most offer a trial membership to make sure it’s a fit for you.


  • You can make exercising social
  • The combo effect (mixing something fun with exercise)


  • Since you have to work a class into your schedule, you lose some convenience
  • If it’s a new activity, there’s potential that you’ll look foolish on your first attempt. Example: I Came, I Saw, I Yogaed!

4)      Swimming

While swimming is usually considered a warm weather activity, a heated, indoor pool is an awesome way to exercise in the winter. Swimming offers a killer work-out, and it’s great for the whole body. If lap swimming isn’t your thing, ask your local pool if they offer water aerobics classes.


  • All the benefits of a pounding work-out, with none of the impact on your joints
  • Most pools have a hot tub, which serves as the ultimate “I just dominated my work-out” victory activity.


  • Convenience. Some pools only offer odd hours for the regular swimmers
  • The chlorine stink factor

5)      Deskercise

This might sound crazy, but if you work in a sedentary job you can make exercise a part of your work day. It won’t turn you into an American Gladiator (greatest show ever), but if you spend a few minutes a day moving at your desk, your overall fitness will definitely improve. Here are a few 60 second desk aerobic ideas to get you moving (exercise ideas are courtesy of Web MD).

  • Do jumping jacks for a full minute
  • Run in place (high knees style)
  • Simulate jumping rope for a minute
  • While seated, pump both arms over your head for 60 seconds


  • It’ll add some excitement into your workday
  • Quick, convenient, and easy to do


  • Strange looks from your co-workers (however, this con might turn into a pro when the rest of the office starts joining in)
  • “Sweaty at work” syndrome

This post was inspired by one of our commenters in the “Share Your Ideas” section of Thanks so much to Jamie for sparking the idea.

If you some have ideas for staying active in the winter, please share them here. We want to know what keeps you moving (and motivated) when the weather is crummy. You never know, your idea might inspire the rest of us!

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