8 Ways to Get Off of the Couch This Winter

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Are you a fair-weather outdoor exerciser, like me? I love walking, running, and bicycling outdoors, but I hate working out in the rain. So instead of letting soggy Pacific Northwest weather interfere with my active lifestyle, I’ve come up with a ton of fun ways to stay active with a roof over my head. So whether you’re dodging the raindrops or shrinking away from below-freezing temps, you’ll benefit from some of my indoor favorites:
  1. Go nowhere fast. I adore my stationary bike and treadmill — because I can work up a terrific sweat, whatever the weather, while watching movies or listening to podcasts and playlists. Home exercise equipment makes working out convenient — and that’s half the battle. But don’t stick it in the basement – you’ll never use it. I keep mine in plain view, in the living room and family room.
  2. Get down. Exercise equipment is effective, but sometimes it just doesn’t appeal. That’s when I break out the Just Dance® DVDs and bust a move with my teen daughter. For me, dancing is so much fun that I forget I’m getting a good workout.
  3. Be creative. Craft a circuit workout, alternating strength and cardio stations. Turn on your favorite high-energy tunes and start with a 5-minute warm-up — marching in place/dancing/jumping jacks. Then, rotate through ten 1-minute stations — examples: jogging or walking in place, burpees, jumping rope, push-ups, step-ups (using the first stair in your staircase), planks, grapevines, alternating lunges, dancing, and triceps dips using a chair. Repeat the circuit 1-2 times for a 20-30 minute sweat session. Follow with 5-10 minutes of easy walking to cool down.
  4. Play. Most elementary school playgrounds (around here, anyway) have a covered area — so on a rainy day, sometimes we opt for a little Frisbee®, basketball, or freeze-tag action.
  5. Head to the gym. It’s an old standby, but it works for me — and it gets me out of the house. The bonus? Being around other people focused on a good workout is very motivating.
  6. Crank out some planks. Sometimes you just need to get off your duff — and doing planks is an easy way to do it. More often than not, I feel so motivated after a few planks that I pound out a few pushups and back exercises while I’m on the floor.
  7. Chill. Head to your local indoor ice rink and bring out your inner Michelle Kwan or Wayne Gretzky. Ice skating builds strength, balance, and cardio fitness, and you’re never too old to learn how — most facilities offer group and private lessons.
  8. Make a splash. I won’t run in the rain, but I love to swim; maybe it makes sense, maybe it doesn’t. But there’s nothing like a full-body water workout for leaving me oddly energized and relaxed at the same time. Whether you’re a hard-core lap swimmer, a water-walker, or enjoy water fitness classes, jump in and enjoy the benefits of a buoyant workout year-round.
Don’t let wet fall weather foil your fitness plans. Invite a friend to join you in brainstorming your own list of indoor fitness favorites. Got a great rainy-day workout idea? We’d love to hear it. Beth Shepard, MS, ACSM-RCEP, ACE-PT, has a master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Arizona. Beth is an expert in fitness and health promotion and a certified wellness coach, helping people thrive by adopting sustainable lifestyle changes. She and her family love to hike, bicycle, and try new sports.