Ways to Stay Physically Active During the Cold Winter Months

When the temperatures drop, it’s hard to convince ourselves that going outside is a good idea. That means fewer walks around our neighborhood park, fewer trips to stretch our legs in the middle of the work day, and fewer pickup games with friends.

But it’s just as important to stay active during the winter months as it is during the rest of the year. Keeping active in the winter can fight off some of the gloom that comes with seasonal affective disorder.

While Washington winter weather brings cold drizzle, wind, and gray skies, there’s still a much less likely chance of snow and ice. This means we can still get our exercise indoors and outdoors safely, we just need some better preparation (and motivation!).


Braving the elements to get your daily walk requires the right equipment. Find a good windbreaker to layer over clothing on windy days. Make sure your rain jacket has a hood, and that it either has a fleece lining or is large enough to fit over other layers of coats. A hat, scarf, and gloves will go a long way in keeping you cozy. 

As much as people in the Pacific Northwest can laugh about using umbrellas, a large one will keep your whole body completely dry as you venture outside, and stave off unwanted illnesses from getting soaked through. Knee-high rain boots are also a great option to stay dry when you’re itching to stretch your legs on a rainy day.

Layer so that you can stay warm as you’re beginning your exercise but keep cool as your body heats up. Consider investing in a pack of hand and boot warmers that you can shake to release some extra heat on a chilly day.

Because the days are shorter, consider buying lights or reflective clothing to attach to you, so you can stay safe while exercising in the morning or evenings.


It’s easy to get motivated to run after work when it’s a balmy 72 degrees and sunny, but less so when it’s a chilly 42 degrees and already dark. But with the proper motivation, the weather is no longer something you think about (at least, not too much!). Podcasts and playlists are great ways to switch your focus and engage your attention. You can also make plans to walk to a local bakery or coffee shop and grab a hot drink for your walk back.

Friends may be one of the best motivators for cold weather workouts. Setting a date to meet up will hold you both accountable, and give some much welcome socialization during the winter months.

Find indoor activities

Of course, there are plenty of ways to stay active indoors, too. You can join classes at your local gym or peruse videos online for millions of workouts, often free and with zero equipment required. These are also great opportunities to try new activities, like dancing, that you might want to carry on into the warmer months as well.

You don’t need a fancy gym membership to get out of the house and stay dry: find a local public gathering space like a mall, and get in a few laps with a friend. 

Questions about health insurance? Contact a Sea Mountain Health Insurance Specialist today!