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Winter Activities to Keep You Moving

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

I will admit, consistency is the component of physical health that I perform the worst in. Besides my regularly occurring work shifts where I am on my feet and moving around for the majority of the time, my movement sessions are typically quite sporadic in nature. This is thanks to multiple factors like school workload and personal priorities, but another contributing factor is definitely the season. The months of November through February in Edmonton tend to make consistent physical activity more difficult to maintain as travel to gyms is more difficult, outdoor exercise like walking or biking don’t appear nearly as friendly, and I think a lot of us feel an overall drain in energy without the sun to keep us company for such a large chunk of our day. 

All of these factors (and more) make it easy to hate the season, but I think that if we try to make the most of it and adapt, we can appreciate the unique activities it has to offer and find ways to continue moving our bodies despite the cold. Here are some indoor and outdoor activity suggestions to keep yourself moving this winter: 


Free-Minimal Investment:


Home workouts/Dance Tutorials 

If bad road conditions or cold weather have made travel to your regular gym more difficult for you, or if you are used to exercising outside, give home workouts or maybe a dance tutorial a try. Anything from yoga, to Zumba and HIIT cardio, bodyweight training and Pilates, and a whole host of other workouts are available online. I’ve personally started using Melissa Woods Health videos for the moment as I prefer low-impact movements for the amount of space I have to work with. 


Indoor Swimming 

Speaks for itself! Swimming is great exercise and a way to have fun indoors for a relatively small admission fee. 



Sledding is a way more entertaining way to get your steps in than walking on an inclined treadmill, plus it’s a winter exclusive. Bundle up and get ready to climb some hills folks, because you’re never too old to throw yourself down an incline on a piece of plastic, and you should take the opportunity while it’s here. 



Skating is actually a tough sport that requires a lot of strength so whether you want to coast and take your time or turn the experience into something more demanding, it’s another good seasonal option for outdoor activities. Depending on where you go you may be able to rent a pair of skates, however many places require you to bring your own, so this will likely require investing in a pair of skates if you can’t find some to borrow.


Holiday Lights/Ice Castles 

Yes, these activities are basically just walking outside, but they have intention and make the cold a lot more bearable than an aimless stroll. A cheerfully lit neighborhood or the fantastical Ice Castle in Hawrelak Park brings a little more magic to our bleak winters. The Ice Castle does have an admission fee, but holiday lights are free to look at!


Medium-Large Investment:


Cross Country Skiing

It’s warmer than your average walk, and faster too. A quick and fun way to travel over the snow rather than through it when you feel like traipsing down some trails, this activity does of course require a pair of boots and skis, which may be a large investment. 



Picking up the pace an extra notch, snowboarding and skiing are killer leg and cardio activities. I haven’t been able to go the last couple of years, but I miss that exhausted but satisfied feeling you get at the end of the day. It’s not quite as fun when it’s -30°C, but weather, time, and bank account permitted, you can get a lot of activity into one session. Most hills also offer equipment to rent so no need to buy-before-you-try. 



I’ve written about hiking before (see: “Hiking in Banff: My Treadmill” on my author page) so I won’t go too in-depth into how much I love hiking as an alternative to regular exercise. It’s just as beautiful and motivating in the winter (although slightly more treacherous) as it is in every other season. Yes, you need to bundle up, but as long as you choose an appropriate day, the hike should keep you warm as well. 


I'm an undergrad student who's all about balance: my favourite pants are of the pyjama variety and I love to cozy up inside with Netflix and coffee, but I also love to get outside and walk in our riverside parks or try a new activity in town. You'll find me on campus in the sunniest study spots, soaking up some rays as I work towards my Journalism degree.
Simi is a senior at the University of Alberta studying Sociology and Religious Studies. She grew up in Houston Texas and lives by the saying “go big or go home”. She is currently Her Campus Ualberta's Editor in Chief and Campus Correspondent. School, volunteering, clubs, and work occupy most of her time. You can find her on Instagram at @simi.bhangoo.