Exercise in winter – how to stay safe

Use these three tips to not only stay motivated but safe when you exercise in winter.

It’s no shock that exercising in the winter can be difficult, unassuming, and downright annoying. From the cold temperatures to the unforgiving terrain, it can be hard to muster up the motivation to exercise. Motivation aside, however, staying safe is often the hardest part. 

running feet outside

With that said, if you’re looking to continue on your health and fitness journey in the winter, eager to find ways to stay motivated and safe, this article is for you. Don’t let the weather bring you down! What follows will be a detail of several tips for keeping YOU safe during exercise in the winter. 

Let’s get right into it!

How to Exercise in the Winter While Staying Safe

Whether you’re a runner or an avid fitness enthusiast who finds any way to sweat, there’s no reason why you can’t continue to do so deep into the winter months. While most tend to migrate indoors, more often than not falling off the wagon and onto the couch, that doesn’t have to be you. 

In fact, you can continue to get just as effective of a workout outdoors during the winter as you can at any other time during the year; you just need to prepare for it! 

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Below Are 3 Tips for Exercising and Staying Safe in the Winter:

  • Don’t Forget to Warmup! 
  • Gear Up to Stay Warm
  • Invest in the Proper Outdoor Running Shoes 

Don’t Forget to Warmup! 

While this tip remains consistent no matter the season, it becomes that much more important when exercising outdoors in cold temperatures. Forgetting to warm up (and I don’t mean warming up from the cold!) before a bout of exercise increases the risk of injury while also hindering performance; this is even more evident when exercising in the cold.


How should you warm up, you ask?! While demands vary depending on your physical health and activity of choice, the general rule of thumb is to spend 5-10 minutes dynamically and actively stretching, with particular focuses on the body parts that will see the most action during exercise.

If you’re a runner, for example, your warmup will likely involve more lower-limb warmups such as leg swings and hamstring sweeps, while cross-country skiing, for example, might require some additional attention on the upper limbs performing things like arm circles and shoulder stretches. 

Gear Up to Stay Warm

You don’t have to stay inside in order to get an effective workout during the winter. 

After all, there’s no such thing as being cold if you dress properly, right?! Fitness aside, exercising outdoors and getting the benefits of fresh air is an incredible tool for your mental health; a popular reason for many to exercise in the first place…

So, what gear should you invest in? Great question…For starters, if you’re someone who prefers to exercise in the evening, it’s a good idea to ensure that you’re visible to traffic. As such, choosing outerwear with reflective material and bright colours is your best bet.

For performance purposes, you’re going to want to wear tighter clothing options, think running tights & thermals. Not only will this keep your muscles, ligaments, and tendons warm during exercise but you’re halfway to looking like an Elite athlete.

Finally, it’s important to stay warm, and that includes your head, ears, hands, and feet. 

Not only will staying warm keep you safe from the damages of cold temperatures but it will improve performance and increase enjoyment.

And if you’re looking for the best running gloves, I have a round-up post with plenty of pairs to choose from. 

Invest in the Proper Outdoor Shoes 

If you’re exercising outside in the winter, arguably the most important piece of outerwear to keep you safe and performing at your best is a suitable pair of shoes. 

Because of the likely terrain that you’re going to come in contact with, depending on where you reside, of course, you’re likely going to have to deal with water, slush, snow and ice.

As such, it’s important to invest in a high-quality pair of waterproof trail running shoes, especially if you’re an avid runner eager to run amongst the snow-covered trees! A great pair of outdoor trainers will provide you with the traction, warmth, and protection you need to exercise safely during the winter season. 

And while you don’t need a pair of running ones, something that will keep your feet dry for long walks, hikes, or other exercise is a must.

A Final Piece of Advice

Last but not least, get creative and have fun! It can be difficult to stay motivated with all of the impending weather concerns that the winter season has to offer. The best way to keep yourself interested during these times is to provide yourself with a variety of activities and exercises to try, whether snowshoeing, running, or otherwise! 

Above all else, don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s completely normal, even expected, for your performance to drop during the winter months for a variety of reasons. As a runner, I can attest… 

So take it day by day, enjoy the journey, and prioritize fun and consistency over results. Before you know it, the sun will be shining and the winter attire will be put into storage. Until then, stay safe, stay warm, and stay motivated.

This post is a contribution by Matthew from Running101 – a fitness blog for beginner runners, providing you with a ton of advice to get started and the very best running gear on the round-ups.

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