How to have an active, safe winter

Adults of all ages can enjoy a mix of outdoor and indoor options to keep moving this season. 

Outdoor adventures

Getting outside for some fresh air is a great (and free!) way to stay active—no matter the season.

  • Whether you walk your neighborhood sidewalks, around one of our many lakes, or on a local trail, heading out for a walk can boost your health in several ways. A study by the National Institutes of Health published in JAMA shows that the more steps you take—even low intensity walks—lower mortality risks. 
  • The Twin Cities are home to miles and miles of groomed cross-country ski trails. If you’re new to cross-country skiing, sign up for lessons and rent equipment at the Wirth Winter Recreation Area, the Como Park Ski Center, and at several Three Rivers Parks. In Rochester, cross-country ski equipment is available for rent to use on trails at some local parks and golf courses.
  • Lace up for ice skating. More than 60 outdoor ice rinks managed by the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Rochester park and recreation boards—most have warming houses and some have free skate rental on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Exercising with a partner provides extra motivation, helps keep you accountable to your fitness plans, and is more fun! Ask a friend or family member to join you on an outdoor adventure.

Gear up for outdoor activities

Layering is the only way to ensure you’re comfortable before, during and after an outdoor activity. Consider:

  • Base layer (including socks)— Worn closest to your body, a base layer should include fitted clothes that wick moisture away from your skin. Choose items made from polyester or wool, which help keep you dry and warm. Avoid wearing cotton clothing in your base layer—cotton will trap your sweat and you’ll feel wet.
  • Mid layer—Over your base layer, you’ll want to focus on lightweight pieces that keep you warm and allow you to move well—like a fleece or a down vest.
  • Outer layer—Depending on your activity and the weather, you might also consider outerwear that is wind and/or water proof.
  • Warm accessories—Hats, headbands, gloves, mittens, neck gaiters and balaclavas can keep your head, neck and hands warm.

Indoor ideas

When the weather is especially nasty outside, you can still stay active indoors including virtual workouts and visits to your local Y.

  • Try a workout in the water at your local Y
  • Visit a local attraction like an indoor garden or shopping mall to take a stroll

Not sure where to start?

The Y’s Activity Finder makes it easy to find options that are a fit for you this winter—based on age, day, location and interests.