Winter is loaded with the good and the not-so-good when it comes to staying active.

The good: Seeing family and friends during the holidays keeps us engaged. Depending on where you live or may be visiting, walking outside could offer a change of pace. Snowy hills, swaying palms or something in between can help ground you to nature.

The bad: Too many treats and delicious meals may cause us to overeat. The cold and ice make it hard to get outside to walk off those extra calories.

Remaining active in the winter months is key to preventing unwanted seasonal weight gain. It’s time to get creative to keep moving. *Before you start any new exercise routine, talk to your doctor to make sure it’s safe. For outside activities, keep extremities warm and be sure that conditions are safe.

Layer up

The right clothing and shoes are crucial for outdoor winter workouts.1


  • An underlayer like long underwear
  • Shirt
  • Pullover or zip-up (try a fleece)
  • A vest (if needed)
  • A jacket, coat or shell with vents
  • Boots with good traction or insulated sneakers
  • Winter walkers with good traction or insulated trail-running shoes
  • A hat (your head is the biggest source of heat loss)
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Well-fitting socks
  • A neck cover (warmer)

Now that you’re ready, follow these tips to stay active:

Go on shorter, more frequent walks

Trade your typical 45-minute walk for three 15-minute walks spread throughout the day. The overall step count will be the same, but the walks will be easier to tolerate.

Think beyond the walk

Cold-weather sports and activities are a great way to get in your steps. Get out on the rink for some ice skating. Go cross-country skiing or snowshoeing.2 Get out the shovel and clear the snow from your sidewalk or driveway.3

Bring a buddy

It’s always easier to get out and about if you’ve got a buddy to go with you. Pass the time socializing with a friend, or bring your furry pal. Everyone will feel better after a brisk jaunt.

Try an online class or app

If you can’t bear to go outside, find a dance, aerobics or other cardio fitness class online or download an app. There are lots of free options these days. The steps can really add up.

Go shopping

Rack up steps by taking a few laps around your favorite mall or big-box retailer. No one needs to know you’re shopping, not buying. And you may even find some good winter workout gear while you’re there.

Clean your house

An hour of deep cleaning can add a surprising amount of steps. As a bonus, you can relax afterward in your sparkling home.

Anytime is a good time to review the goals you’ve set for yourself and remember why you are active. Be kind and patient with yourself during these more challenging months.

Find my doctor

It’s always a good season to take of yourself. And there are many different kinds of self-care. Learn about thriving with self-care.

Published December 13, 2023

3If you experience any unusual symptoms (chest, back, arm or jaw pain, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, etc.), stop the activity and seek medical attention.

This portion of the Teladoc Health website occasionally offers health, fitness and nutritional information and is provided for educational purposes only. You cannot rely on any information provided here as a substitute for or replacement of professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Teladoc Health cannot assure that the information contained on this site always includes the most recent findings or developments with respect to the particular subject matter covered.

If you ever have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional. Do not disregard, avoid or delay obtaining medical- or health-related advice from your healthcare professional because of something you may have read on this site. The use of any information provided on this site is solely at your own risk.

If you are in the United States and think you are having a medical or health emergency, call your healthcare professional, or 911, immediately.