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5 Ways To Be Active In The Cold Weather (That Aren’t Going To The Gym)

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Minnesota chapter.

I grew up in the Midwest, and still think the cold weather we have is outrageous. I’m at the point where I don’t want to step foot outside my house unless I have to, which is sad because I know there’s a great adventure out there waiting for me. In a moment of trying to be Leslie Knope I decided to brainstorm a list of ways I could get outside and be active…  and have fun while doing it. If you’re in the same boat that I am, here are six ideas I came up with to not become the recluses of our generation this winter.


1. Walk To A Brewery

I would walk 500 miles just to sip on a coffee cherry porter, and you can find just that at Surly Brewing Co. However, Surly is only a mere one-mile walk from the University campus, which means that in about 20 minutes you can walk there and be sipping on happiness in no time. They even have a giant fire outside of the brewery, providing weary travelers with the option to warm up from their journeys before getting a drink. As much as I regret this weather, I’m pretty sure I can come up with enough layers to accommodate for 20 minutes of outside walking. Cheers to beer coaxing me out of my house.  

2. Walk To A Restaurant

I would walk 500 more miles to stuff my face with some good grub. I can access almost any kind of food within a few miles of my house in Como, much to the joy of my stomach and the dismay of my wallet. I’m almost always in the mood for Mediterranean street food and I’ve actually walked to Spitz with a roommate before to get some yummy Berliner Fries. Spitz is two miles from the University campus, so if you’re on the fence about making that hike, an added perk is that the meal will be basically burned off by the time you walk home! Then, you’ll have room to do some more walkin’ and chewin’ and groovin’. Some of my favorite places a little closer to campus to walk to for a good chow down include Wally’s Falafel and Hummus, Blaze Pizza and Annie’s Parlour. Just be careful not to eat too much and crash like the Avengers did when they went too hard on some shawarma. Of course, they had just saved the world and stuff. No biggie.

3. Rent Out A Game Space

Sometimes, you just can’t be outside. Never fear, there are still plenty of unique ways to be active. Consider getting a group of friends together and renting out a court to play volleyball, basketball or racquetball! Have too many friends? Make a tournament out of it. Spaces can be reserved at the University’s Recreation and Wellness Center, as well as certain community centers around the area. I’ve used the basketball courts at the St. Anthony Village Community Center and had a great time kicking some serious butt in competitive games of lightning. I’m *kind* of a big deal. Sometimes these spaces have a reservation fee, so just make sure to bring along enough pals to split the cost and make it an affordable activity.   

4. Shred Some Hills

Let’s get real about what’s happening to us Gophers, there will be snow on the ground until Easter. We’re going to be late to class from trudging through endless piles of disgusting slush, it’s going to get harder and harder to get out of the warmth of our beds in the mornings (and afternoons… and nights…), our muscles will be sore from shoveling and from trying not to slip on the icy sidewalks that certain inconsiderate people don’t shovel and the list of hardships goes on and on. I have a proposal to help us not become actual gophers and burrow down and shred our sanity in despair — why don’t we go shred some hills instead? If you liked sledding as a child, or if you still do, like me, you’ll probably enjoy skiing or snowboarding. It’s like sledding, but standing up. Skiing or snowboarding are great sports to get adrenaline rushes and to get your muscles working without you even noticing it. There are tons of ski hills around the Twin Cities and surrounding areas, so hit up Gopher RideShare to hitch a ride to the resort of your choice!

5. Ice Skate

We can’t have snow without ice, and as long as I’m not driving on it, I’m moderately okay with that. I’m not sure who decided to add a knife to the bottom of a shoe and make that a sport, either, but I’ll take it. Ice skating is one of the most elegant winter sports, both to watch and participate in. Professional skaters look like they’re flying, gliding effortlessly forward and backward and all over, which is impressive given that they’re literally dancing on ice. I’m sure that I look more like a sputtering goose than a professional when I skate, but it sure feels good. It’s easy to hold onto the wall at first, but once you gain enough confidence to let go and race around the ice rink, it really does feel like flying. Van Cleve Park still has their ice skating rink available, so make sure to check out the ice rink hours. Gather your friends, put on a pair of danger-shoes and get to dancin’! He was a sk8er boi… she said see ya l8er boi, because she’s going to join him on the ice after class.

Getting outside in the winter can seem a little daunting. Next time you’re itching to get some movement, consider these tips for how to be active outside! Don’t forget to drag a friend or two with you, and you’ll be having fun in the cold in no time.


Kayleen Hedberg

Minnesota '19

Kayleen is a a senior at the University of Minnesota studying English and Creative Writing. She is a Hufflepuff, a cat mom and lover of all things superhero.
Jillian McMahan

Minnesota '19

Jillian McMahan is a senior studying child psychology at the University of Minnesota. She aspires to one day be the Leslie Knope of her workplace.