Beating the Winter Blues – Staying Active All Winter Long

Living in a city that received more than 130 inches of snow last year, staying fit during winter is a huge priority for me, especially since next spring I’ll be setting out on four hikes. Last year I had part time jobs that allowed me plenty of time during daylight hours to get outside, no matter the weather. This year, I’ll be working 60-hour weeks for the next 5 months in order to save money for the trip (hey, no pain, no gain, right?!) Here are four things I’ll be doing in this city of snow to stay fit and in hiking shape for spring 2015:

1) Embrace the cold – with the proper gear of course!

I moved to New England after living in Tennessee for nearly 20 years. To say I was not the best-equipped for winter weather was an understatement! Winter is all about layers to help stay warm, which means if you want to go out proper gear is a must! In February last year, I was running outside with active -20 windchills and still staying warm without fear of frostbite. An example of what I wore for these runs: Mid calf wool socks, thermal tight pants, fleece-lined pants, a sports bra, a wool base layer T-shirt, a thermal base layer top, and a down vest. I also wore a fleece ear-covering headband and glove liners until my hands began to sweat, at which point they came off. You have to remember you’ll be moving and sweat is BAD NEWS when it comes to super cold weather. Being able to shed layers is important. What also comes along with embracing the cold? HYDRATION! Overlooked because sweating isn’t really something you strive for, hydration in winter is incredibly important.

See? Lots of layers!

See? Lots of layers!

2) Snowshoeing anyone?

Chances are if you’re reading this blog, you’re a hiker or aspiring hiker. I was so thankful when I found snowshoeing… it’s like hiking in clown shoes! For those who have never done it, a quick google search of your area will tell you the places near you that not only have snowshoeing courses, but usually how much rentals per hour are and estimated times of the courses for beginners. After going for only a few hours I was hooked!

See, they really are clown shoes!

See, they really are clown shoes!

3) Even though it’s indoors – try a new class!

Now I’m not recommending you run out and get the most elite gym membership at the fanciest place in town. is a great website where you can find tons of free or low-cost opportunities to get together and try a new sport! Even in my small-ish town, we have an indoor rock-climbing gym that is self-belay (so you can go alone if you have to). Yoga is also an oft-overlooked activity that is written off as glorified stretching. Let me tell you, if you’ve got a sit down job and like to hike, doing yoga is a great way to get your muscles activated, loosened, and ready for hiking! In the wintertime, a hot yoga class is a great way to warm up, sweat your butt off, and strengthen all at the same time.

Every muscle in my body hurt after my first climb in over 2 years...

Every muscle in my body hurt after my first climb in over 2 years…

4) Snow shoveling… or playing outside!

This last one is seriously a killer cardio workout! I sweat more shoveling the piles of snow left at the end of my driveway by the plows than all the runs I took combined. If you don’t need to shovel (can I move in with you?!), get outside and have fun! Go sledding at the local hill, have a snowball fight, or even just run around and make snow angels. Seriously, this one sounds ridiculous, but you’re still going to stay active and have fun!

Even though I hate this thing by March, it's cheaper than going to the gym!

Even though I hate this thing by March, it’s cheaper than going to the gym!

Beating the winter blues can be tough, especially when that freak early spring snowstorm hits and you are SO READY for spring. Staying active is really, really important during the winter for spring hiking season so that way you’re not huffing and puffing your way down the trail wishing you were back at home in bed.

What sorts of things do you enjoy to keep active during the snowy months? Do you have winter as a season at all? I’d love to talk with more of you about your favorite activities in the winter – leave some comments below or get in touch with me on Facebook!

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