Winter can often be the most challenging season from a fitness perspective. In fact, people specifically tend to gain more weight during the winter, for a number of different reasons: holiday meals, more time indoors due to cold weather, comfort foods, etc. It’s a season during which it’s very tempting to stay comfortable and satisfied, as opposed to disciplined and hard-working. But really all it takes is a little bit of focus and initiative to avoid these common tendencies and stay fit right through the winter.

These are some of the keys to the effort.

Trying Winter Sports

Aside from general lifestyle and dieting changes, one of the reasons we tend to slip a little bit during the winter is that we just don’t want to go outside for regular workouts! Long walks or jogs, tennis, soccer, cycling, or whatever else you may rely on can suddenly seem very unappealing in colder weather. Indeed, even swimming in a gym pool can be a tough proposition, because there’s always a little bit of permanent chill during cold seasons. Thus, turning to winter sports can actually be very effective. There are a lot of activities to consider, including skiing and snowboarding if you’re in an area where they’re accessible, snow kayaking if you live on the water, or even indoor games like bowling or racquetball. Getting involved in any of these can help you to keep your fitness efforts moving forward.

Committing To Spring Events

This is more of a psychological trick than anything else, but it’s one you should think about. If you commit to a spring fitness event – a marathon, a triathlon, the beginning of an outdoor sports league, etc. – you’re essentially declaring that you’ll need to be in proper shape for it when the season rolls around. For some, this can be all the incentive needed to be a little more disciplined about personal wellness during the holidays.

Learning To Work Out While You Lounge

To at least a degree, there’s nothing that can quell the desire to lounge about when it’s cold out. You might want to watch some movies, read a few long novels, binge watch a new TV show, or just hunker down and play video games. Whatever the case, a little bit of sedentary “chill time” is always appealing. This is perfectly fine, but you should also learn to work out while you’re doing it. A terrific 2017 article on just this topic – specifically, exercises for people playing games – noted that a few simple routines can keep the juices flowing and keep you feeling relaxed and fresh, even if they won’t exactly sculpt your muscles. Things like stretching, breathing exercises, and even some minor weight and resistance exercises can be done while you lounge about, and can go a long way.

Eating Right Between Major Meals

If you celebrate any of the winter holidays and have family traditions that involve treats and large meals, you’re probably kidding yourself if you decide to hold back. That is to say, if you’re going to have a Christmas feast, you’re likely to get into the spirit and enjoy the meal – which means you’re setting yourself up for failure if you’ve determined to take it easy. Instead of trying to hold back on these major meals and occasions, then, try committing to a plan to take it easy in between them. You can have a few treats and a holiday feast, and even leftovers for a day or two, and make up for it by having light lunches through the month of December, or opting for vegetarian-only dinners on week days for the month, or anything of this kind. The give-and-take tends to be a little easier on you than any attempt to hold back in totality.

Keeping Tabs On Weight

Perhaps this tip sounds a little bit obvious, but then a lot of the time it’s not recommended to watch the scale while you’re in the middle of a fitness routine. This is because it can take time to start seeing the pounds melt off, and if you don’t see results early on you might get discouraged and stop your efforts. However, during the winter the main idea is not to put on too many excess pounds. So, if you’re able to, try to keep tabs on things. This way if you start to notice your weight going up you can try to adjust your day-to-day routine to increase the likelihood that you enter the spring just as fit as you left the fall.

Emily Brathen Contributor

Emily is founder of, a blog where she and her associates talk about fitness, weight loss, and yoga. Their aim is to help people like you to achieve perfect body. BodyShape101 is concentrated on exercise & fitness tips, and making the most out of it. She is also a mother of one and she tries to find balance between her passion and her biggest joy in life.