How To Survive Outdoor Exercise In Winter

It might be the coldest time of year, but that’s not stopping us from enjoying a nice workout outside. Learn how we’re surviving with these 5 tips! 

Honestly? I hate the gym. I find it smelly, the fluorescent lights remind me of my poorly lit childhood classrooms, and the surge of people who flock in to fulfill their “get fit” New Years resolutions is just absurd. Not saying I don’t go, but I’d much rather exercise, outside, in the fresh air. Although this time of year presents a bit of a problem: the fresh air I love so much has now turned ice cold. If you live up north, or anywhere that’s not rubbing shoulders with the equator for that matter, I know you feel my pain. Outdoor exercise during winter is brutal. I’m a runner and, as much as I hate tracking long distances on a treadmill, sometimes my Floridian blood just can’t handle the cold, and inside the gym I go. But there has to be some way to surpass this. Exercising outside can still be manageable, even in the coldest of months, right?! Yes! It just takes a few hacks (and the right mindset), but one can (and will) survive! Here’s how:


Layer, layer, and layer some more.

Personally, I’d much rather be a little toasty than shivering cold. Layering is key when it comes to exercising in cold weather! Whenever I plan to run outside in winter, I start with three to four layers up top: a sports bra, layering top, loose-fitting tee and a jacket. I don’t like too many layers on the bottom, so a pair of quality — and warm — leggings works just fine for me. Oh, and gloves! Gotta have gloves. Now, depending on the climate, feel free to adapt to your comfort level. It’s easy to shed a layer if you get too hot but, once you’re already outside and on the go, you’re in for a long, hard struggle if you didn’t dress appropriately. More is more in this situation. Try wearing the Thanlia Bra,  Half Time TeeGet Movin’ Smooth Turtleneck , Moto Legging, and the Night Runner Hoodie !


Consider the Time.

Plan to work out during midday, or when the temperature hits its highest peak. It’s hard for me to commit to this time while at work, so generally I’ll plan my outdoor activities for the weekend. If you have some time to spare, you can also consider using half your lunch break to work out (I envy all of my dedicated co-workers who do this!)

Hydrate and Warm Up.

It’s important to stay hydrated in cold temperatures. One may think her sweat levels will remain minimal, but you CAN sweat just as much in the winter, maybe even more when you consider all of your layers. Before you exercise, be sure to stretch and drink plenty of water. Right before I head out the door, I’ll also take a few small sips of black coffee. It’s proven to help blood circulation, and it warms the body before facing the cold. If coffee isn’t your thing, try taking a few sips of warm tea, or warm water with honey and lemon.


The Right Playlist.

Music can help keep your mind off the cold and put you in the right mindset. Personally, I like to run to a mix of high energy, bass driven songs, with a little rap sprinkled in. The more hype, the better. Check out this mix we made last week, or head over to our Spotify account to check out more playlists!

Stay on Low Ground.

Avoid hills or paths close to the water. The closer you are to ground level, the warmer you will be. Try looking for a path lined with trees, or an area where wind gusts and possible snow flurries may be blocked by buildings.


How do you like stay warm while exercising in the winter?? Share your tips in the comment section below!

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8 years ago

This post was very helpful! I recently moved to Portland from LA, and it’s been challenging to exercise outside because of the cooler weather. I hate going to the gym, so I’m definitely going to be using these tips to jumpstart my fitness routine in 2016.


8 years ago

Great advice! If you are lucky enough to live in a location that acquires snow in the winter/spring, you can also engage in cold weather outdoor sports! Think downhill skiing/snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, ice climbing, etc. Many ski areas and outdoor gear shops will rent you all the gear you need for an activity.

8 years ago

No matter what I do, my hands, fingers, feet and toes ALWAYS freeze, to the point where they get almost frostbitten… Even when my whole body is feeling comfortably warm I’m freezing at my extremities. Doctor says it’s a vein issue…

8 years ago

I feel like I could have written this article. I too am from Florida (Miami) and I also love running outside. I do not enjoy the gym or working out inside unless I am doing yoga or some other class like zumba.
I am sitting here contemplating going for a run or going to a kickboxing class and then I read your article. I have never heard that about the coffee but I might have to give it a try. Stay warm out there.

8 years ago

Keep Your Feet Warm With This.. “Quick Trick”

8 years ago

I completely agree layers are key! This outfit look great, I mostly do yoga as I’m doing my teacher training but still layer up for walks and hikes in the cold months. Some great tips here, love it.


8 years ago

In all honesty, I generally hate exercise in any season. I’ll complain it’s way too hot and then I’ll complain it’s way too cold. I do need this extra motivation to actually leave the house in winter! I am such a sook with the cold.
Kyah /

8 years ago

I live in Colorado so it can get pretty cold, and unfortunately I’m ALWAYS in high altitude. I cover my ears with one, sometimes 2 headbands, and also wear a neck gaiter that breathes to cover my mouth when it’s really cold. I wear wool socks, not running socks. And 2-3 layers of leggings. Some people like to add crampons to their shoes when running on packed snow, it can definitely get slippery. There’s something so empowering about running on a bitter cold day or evening!

8 years ago

I personally prefer running in the winter, even with minus temperatures. What I find works with my body is that I need to feel cold when I get out of the house and start running. That way I know that 10 minutes later when I have warmed up, I won’t actually feel too hot. Feeling too hot will make me feel tired faster and I just don’t like the feeling. Also I take a few deep breaths when coming out, with arms up, to stretch my lungs and introduce the cold air smoothly in my body. Too quick of a transition between warm and cold has created a pain in my lungs before.

In terms of layer, a thermo layer + a running fleece layer is the best. I also have thin gloves but sometimes when I can’t find them, I just put on a black pair of socks on my hands which work too!

I’d also make sure to have my ears and throat protected, that’s super super important.

And only stop running a few steps away from home, because once you stop that’s where the risk of catching a cold happens the most.