39 Activities to Keep You Active And Avoid the Winter Blues

From skiing to snow tubing to cozy indoor hobbies, make the most of the cold season by trying some or all of our fun winter activities!

woman-having-a-walk-with-her-dog
by
Sarah Zimmer, PT, DPT
— Signos
PT, DPT
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Updated by

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Science-based and reviewed

Published:
July 19, 2024
October 15, 2023
— Updated:

Table of Contents

As the temperature drops and the winter frost hits the ground, it's easy to succumb to the temptation of hibernation. The cold weather often tempts us to become dormant inside, where cozy blankets, Netflix marathons, and heavy comfort foods become our go-to choices. Yet, surrendering to these sedentary and indulgent tendencies over time can lead to various health issues, including worsened blood sugar levels, weight gain, increased depression or anxiety, and reduced energy levels or motivation. 

However, staying active and finding new hobbies during the colder months can help combat these impulses and help us maintain our physical health, elevate our mood, and prevent the winter blues. 

This article will explore almost 40 different activities you must include on your winter bucket list this year. Whether you prefer to get outside or you like to cozy up indoors during wintertime, we’ve got the perfect activity for you and your whole family. Check out these fun ideas for cold-weather shenanigans!

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The Winter Bucket List: 39 Activities for You and Your Family

These outdoor and indoor activities are designed to keep you active, energized, and motivated as you make the most of the cold weather days. So, bundle up, grab your loved ones, and embark on a winter journey filled with joy, exploration, and cherished moments that will warm your hearts and your bodies throughout the winter season.

Outdoor Winter Activities 

  1. Skiing: Whether it's downhill skiing or cross-country skiing, gliding through the snow is a quintessential winter activity that will give your body both an aerobic and strength-building workout. Most ski resorts offer day passes to those looking to hit the slopes but not stay in their lodging facilities.
  1. Snowboarding: For those seeking a thrill, snowboarding is an exciting way to stay active during the winter months. It combines cardiovascular exercise with balance and coordination. Your legs will feel incredibly sore while your heart feels incredibly full. 
  1. Winter Survival Skills Workshops: Learn essential winter survival skills, such as building shelters, starting fires, and learning about how to avoid the dangers of avalanches with experienced instructors. These skills can be a great way to get outside while also understanding how to protect yourself better while engaging in outdoor activities like skiing, snowboarding, or winter hiking. 
  1. Go Ice Skating: Embrace the winter wonderland by heading to your local ice skating rink for this family-friendly activity. Ice skating is a fun and invigorating way to exercise while enjoying the crisp winter air.
  1. Snowshoeing: Snowshoeing is a low-impact activity that allows you to trek through snowy terrain while connecting with nature and still getting a great workout. This activity is wonderful for all fitness levels, including beginners.
  1. Go Sledding: Channel your inner child by hitting the local sledding hill. It's a fun and exhilarating way to get your heart rate up and a great activity to enjoy as a family. 
  1. Build a Snowman: Either by yourself or with your loved ones, use the freshly packed snow to build a snowman in your front yard. You can also organize friendly competitions to see who can build the most creative snowmen. Don’t forget to also make some beautiful snow angels in your yard! This activity is extremely popular for young children and can be enjoyed by individuals of all ages.
  1. Geocaching: Continue your geocaching adventures in the winter months, hunting for hidden treasures in the snow. 
  1. Bird Watching: Winter can be an excellent time for bird watching, as many species migrate to different regions. Head to a national park or state park to see birds native to your area and enjoy local trails.
young-kid-skiing
  1. Volunteer Shoveling: Offering to shovel snow for elderly neighbors or those in need can be a rewarding way to stay active while helping your community.
  1. Play Pond Hockey: Grab some friends and play a friendly ice hockey game at your nearest frozen pond or outdoor rink. Most local frozen ponds are free to use, and some even provide cheap gear rentals. 
  1. Sign Up for a Race: One of the best ways to stay motivated for outdoor exercise is to sign up for a 5K, 10K, or marathon, depending on your goals and fitness level. Make sure to have the appropriate layers for running in the cold, and stay hydrated even if you aren’t sweating as much. 
  1. Take a Winter Hike: Don't let the cold deter you from hiking; as they say, “There is no bad weather, just bad gear.” Dress appropriately and bring extra traction devices like YakTraks or spikes to enjoy the serene beauty of the winter landscapes.
  1. Enjoy a Sleigh Ride: Take a romantic or festive sleigh ride during the winter months, especially around the holidays. Many cities offer sleigh rides near Christmas time as a way to enjoy the holiday lights, get outside, and spend quality time with your loved ones.
  1. Have a Snowball Fight: Why not relive the joy of childhood and engage in a friendly snowball fight with friends or family? It's a great way to burn off energy and share some laughs.
  1. Go Snow Tubing: Enjoy the thrill of sliding down snow-covered hills on an inflatable tube, a fun activity for all ages. You can purchase your own inflatable tube or rent one at a local outdoor adventure park.
  1. Try Snowmobiling: For a more leisurely outdoor activity, try snowmobiling. It's a great way to explore vast snow-covered landscapes.
  1. Go Ice Fishing: If you love fishing during the summer mornings, try ice fishing on a frozen lake! It is much more fun than it sounds, especially if you get yourself a good shanty for staying warm. 
  1. Do the Polar Bear Plunge: For the bold and adventurous, plunge into icy waters to start the year with an exhilarating experience and a burst of energy. Taking a cold plunge has many health benefits, and most polar bear plunge events are also fundraisers for organizations like the Special Olympics. Warm up afterward with a steamy mug of hot cocoa.

Remember to dress warmly and stay safe during these outdoor activities by wearing appropriate winter clothing, staying hydrated, and being mindful of weather conditions. Even getting outside for a 10- to 15-minute walk with enough layers or doing a 10-minute HIIT class can give you the physical activity you need while giving you a dopamine boost from the fresh air. Make the most of winter’s unique opportunities for outdoor fun and see what new hobbies you develop in a short amount of time. 

Indoor Winter Activities 

If the weather conditions are unsafe, or you don't have enough layers to brave the cold temperatures, here is a list of fun things you can do indoors to keep you busy, stay active, and reduce your stress in the winter.

  1. Relax with Some Yoga: Take yoga classes at a local studio or practice at home to improve flexibility, reduce stress, and maintain physical and mental well-being. Yoga has also been shown to help with weight loss and weight management, which can be helpful in the winter months or around the holidays. 
  1. Hit the Gym: Maintain your fitness routine by hitting the gym to work on strength training, cardio, and overall fitness goals.
  1. Swim at an Indoor Pool: Many fitness centers and community pools offer indoor swimming options, allowing you to stay active, burn calories, and enjoy the water without braving the cold. 
  1. Go Roller Skating: Head to an indoor roller skating rink for a fun and nostalgic activity that provides a great cardiovascular workout.
  1. Learn a New Recipe: Stay warm and satisfied by learning new cooking or baking techniques. Experiment with new recipes or take a class to improve your culinary skills.
  1. Try Indoor Rock Climbing: Visit an indoor climbing gym to challenge your physical strength and problem-solving skills in a controlled, climate-controlled environment.
  1. Go to a Trampoline Park: Bounce, jump, and have a blast at indoor trampoline parks. If you aren’t comfortable getting on a trampoline, you can also try obstacle courses, ziplines, and other indoor adventure activities that are accessible and fun for kids and adults. 
  1. Indoor Sports: Join an indoor sports league or facility for activities like basketball, volleyball, or pickleball to maintain your fitness levels.
  1. Visit a Museum or Art Gallery: Explore local museums and art galleries to immerse yourself in history, culture, and art.
  1. Try an Escape Room: Test your problem-solving skills and teamwork in a themed escape room experience. This activity is fun for the entire family and can be a great way to stimulate your brain, get out of the house, and enjoy something different with friends and family members.
  1. Indoor Miniature Golf: Challenge your putting skills with indoor miniature golf courses that often include fun, creative additions such as “glow in the dark” or monster-themed courses. Newer putt-putt places offer fun for both kids and adults. 
  1. Try Meditation and Mindfulness Classes: Enhance your mental well-being and stress management through meditation and mindfulness practices.
  1. Board Games and Puzzles: Enjoy quality time with friends and family through board game nights or challenging jigsaw puzzles. Enjoy winter treats like hot chocolate topped with marshmallows and s’mores to make this night even sweeter.
  1. Dance Classes: Learn to dance or perfect your moves in various dance styles, from salsa to hip-hop.
  1. Try Pilates: Strengthen your core and improve flexibility with Pilates classes. You can try a class at your local Pilates studio or start with an online class in the comfort of your own home. 
  1. Learn a New Language: Use apps like Duolingo or join a class to help you learn or improve your skills using a new language. This can be a great way to meet people at an in-person meet-up or to develop a whole new skill on your own. 
  1. Take a Pottery or Craft Class: Unleash your creativity by taking a pottery or craft class at a local art studio or university. You can rally a group of friends or family members and take a Paint and Sip class together, where you learn how to paint while enjoying a glass of wine. If you would rather stay home, get the whole family involved in a gingerbread house competition. This will allow you to still be creative in a festive way.
  1. Learn a Musical Instrument: Take up playing a musical instrument like the piano or guitar and discover the joy of creating music. Many private instructors offer in-person or online teaching and classes at your local university or music store.
  1. DIY Home Improvement Projects: Winter can be the best time to tackle home improvement projects to enhance your living space. 
  1. Volunteer at Local Organizations: Give back to the community by volunteering at a local food shelter, library, or other organization. You can often find volunteer opportunities online at your city or county website. 

In conclusion, the winter season need not be a time of inactivity or hibernation. Instead, it offers a multitude of opportunities for both indoor and outdoor activities that cater to various interests and fitness levels. Staying active during the winter helps maintain physical fitness, contributes to overall mental and emotional well-being, and provides opportunities for bonding with friends and family, fostering a sense of togetherness and shared experiences. 

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If choosing to pursue outdoor adventures, remember the importance of safety. Always dress appropriately for the weather, stay informed about current conditions (i.e., blizzards, ice, avalanche risk, etc.), and take necessary precautions to ensure your well-being for yourself and your loved ones. Whether wearing layers to stay warm or seeking proper guidance and equipment for winter sports, safety should be a top priority in the winter months.

So, as the snow falls and the temperature drops, don't let the winter season pass you by. Embrace the opportunities it presents, stay active, and make lasting memories that will warm your heart long after the snow has melted.

Learn More About How to Stay Healthy during the Holidays with Signos.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What activities do people do in the winter?

During the winter, people engage in a wide range of activities both indoors and outdoors. Indoor activities include pursuits like cooking classes, yoga, and board games, while outdoor enthusiasts enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing. Winter offers diverse experiences, catering to various interests and providing opportunities for fun, fitness, and relaxation.

What kind of activities do you enjoy in winter?

The colder months provide an opportunity to do indoor activities such as rock climbing, yoga, and cycling classes. The time indoors also allows for more time to exercise creative outlets like crafts, playing music, and DIY projects around the house. 

What to do with winter boredom?

To combat winter boredom, consider exploring a mix of indoor and outdoor activities. You can engage in winter sports, such as skiing or ice skating, discover new hobbies like cooking or painting, immerse yourself in a good book, or do a DIY home project you’ve wanted to do. Embracing the season and staying active with various activities is an excellent way to beat winter boredom and make the most of the colder time of year.

What is the most common winter activity?

The most common winter activity varies depending on where someone lives and their preferences. In regions with snowfall, activities like ice skating, skiing, and snowboarding are very popular, while in milder climates, people often opt for indoor activities such as playing board games, attending holiday events, or enjoying winter festivals. Finding an activity or a hobby you enjoy during the winter months can be incredibly helpful for staying positive and active during the cold weather days. 

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References

About the author

Sarah is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, graduating from the University of Wisconsin Madison in 2017.

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Please note: The Signos team is committed to sharing insightful and actionable health articles that are backed by scientific research, supported by expert reviews, and vetted by experienced health editors. The Signos blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. Read more about our editorial process and content philosophy here.

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