How to Stay Active in the Winter

Author: Lindsey Ulrich

"Just because the weather changes, that doesn't mean the recommendation of daily exercise does."


As cold days and long nights roll in, it can be harder to stay active. However, exercise should be a part of your daily routine, no matter the weather.

“Just because the weather changes, that doesn’t mean the recommendation of daily exercise does,” said David Pohl, DO, physician at McLaren Mid-Michigan Physicians Family Medicine and Lipidology. “You want to shoot for at least 150 minutes per week, or 20-25 minutes a day, of moderate-intensity cardiovascular activity.” 

Getting at least the recommended amount of activity per week helps lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.  Dr. Pohl states there are some simple ways to keep moving, even when the weather detours you.

“Take extra laps around the grocery store or when you are running your errands; find objects around your house to use for strength training, such as a water bottle or a gallon of milk to use in lifting exercises,” said Dr. Pohl.

Other ways to stay active and motivated while indoors include joining a health club or fitness class, taking the stairs more often, or searching online for aerobic routines.

Still, it may be hard for some to get motivated to exercise, especially during the cold season, so Dr. Pohl suggests starting small and work your way up.

“The more you build your activities into a daily routine, the easier it is to maintain and build up on the amount of exercise and intensity you do,” said Dr. Pohl.  

For those who want to brave the cold weather, either by shoveling the snow or taking a brisk walk, Dr. Pohl recommends dressing appropriately, layering clothing, and taking breaks when feeling tired or out of breath.

In addition to staying active, be sure to keep up with your routine checks and appointments and talk to your doctor about any changes in your health. If you are looking for a new primary care provider, click here for more information or to schedule an appointment.