23 Tips to keep moving all winter long

The winter months can be a tough time of year to stay motivated and focused on your fitness routine. But we’re here to help! Our staff pulled together 23 ways to keep moving in 2023 and their favorite places to do so all winter long. With these suggestions, you’re sure to reach your new goals, and then some. Let’s go (and keep it going)!

Man on Rock Climbing Inside

01. Bring it Inside

If you can’t fathom facing winter conditions, then don’t! There are plenty of indoor options to keep your fitness on track. Sign up for that yoga or dance class you heard about, or join your local gym or rec center. Who knows, you might even find a new indoor activity you love.

My favorite way to stay healthy/active during the winter months is to go indoor bouldering.”

– Chase Cross, Team Gazelle Customer Care Representative

Other indoor options around our stores:

  • Indoor ice-skating - Griffs Icehouse (Grand Rapids), Griffs West (Holland), Birmingham Ice Arena, Novi Ice Arena (near Northville).
  • Swimming - Holland Aquatic Center, local YMCAs

02. Get the Right Gear 

Even if the weather outside is frightful, if you’re dressed right, your run will be delightful! Check the weather conditions and forecast before you head out, then layer up and accessorize appropriately to stay warm, dry, and upright. That way, you’re more likely to also stay on track.

"There are no bad runs, just the wrong gear. If you're cold, you won't continue your outdoor movement. Some traction on my shoes, fleece leggings, base layers, a wind/waterproof jacket, a headband, and gloves are my personal go to's.”

– Merry Wilbert, Grand RSales Floor Leader & Sales Associate

“LAYERS – this is my key for enjoying a winter run! A base layer, thermal and windbreaker on top, headband or buff, convertible mittens, and a good wind protected pant or legging. Also, warm, wicking socks and ideally a GTX shoe!”

– Forrest Buffenbarger, Kalamazoo Assistant Store Manager

03. Switch It Up 

Like the long, gray days of winter, sometimes fitness routines can become monotonous which can really drag your motivation down. The best way to beat this boredom is to break things up with varying activities or locations. Intersperse some treadmill days with outdoor trails. Compliment your regular schedule with cross-training activities like strength training or swimming.

“Being creative is key for me. I sometimes will go to Calvin College and boulder hop near their XC course to work on balance, or mix in skiing or snowshoeing with trail running.“

– Thierry Werderits, Grand Rapids Sales Associate

04. Try Something New 

One easy way to switch things up is to try something new. Always wanted to take on that rock climbing wall? Fat tire biking sound like fun? What about that Zumba class you’ve been wanting to join? Now is the perfect time to dip your toes into a new adventure. It’ll keep your fitness routine fresh and your motivation levels high. 

05. Embrace the Elements 

A Michigan winter typically means plenty of snow, so why fight it when you can enjoy it? Take advantage of all the white stuff by taking part in all the seasonal activities it provides – from skiing to skating to snowshoeing and more!

“I love the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex! It’s one of only four places in the country with a luge track, plus they have an ice skating trail, ice rinks, sledding, snowshoes, and groomed XC skiing trails.”

– Kelsey Raak, Email Marketing Manager

Women Running in a Group

06. Don’t Go it Alone 

It’s much easier to keep moving if you’re moving with others! Not only is fitness more fun with friends, but you’re also able to hold each other accountable – no one wants to let their friends down, right? If you can’t enlist a buddy to join your journey, look for local run groups, clubs, and meetups.  Psst…we know a few.    

“My best tip? Find someone to train with – it’s a lot more fun to complain about all the cold and unshoveled sidewalks with a friend!”

– Robert Kloosterman

07. Skip the Ice and Snow 

If it’s slippery, snowy terrain that’s making you think twice about heading outside, guess what? There are ways of getting around it (other than adding traction). Look for places that upkeep the plowing of sidewalks and bike paths or head to downtown areas with heated streets, like Holland.

“My personal favorite spot to run in winter on pavement is West Michigan University campus – they do an absolutely amazing job of keeping their sidewalks clear of snow and ice!”

– Forrest Buffenbarger, Kalamazoo Assistant Store Manager

“When the roads and sidewalks are unplowed or slippery, and I need clear pavement and good footing, my reliable places are Oak Industrial Drive and Kent Intermediate School District campus. Both locations offer not only a safe place to get some miles in, but their layouts make for good out-and-back or loop courses, too.”

– Rod Wortley, Grand Rapids Sales Associate

08. Get a Grip

Of course, it can get tough to avoid snow and ice all winter long, so your best bet is to make sure you include extra traction when you’re lacing up. Take it from Bob: 

“For really snowy/icy winter runs, try using trail shoes or slipping winter spikes over your regular trainers to help you stay on your feet.” 

– Bob Linabury, Downtown Grand Rapids Store Manager 

09. Set a Goal, Make a Plan

A goal to work toward and a training schedule to follow often helps you stay the course. Sign up for a Spring race, find a training program and away you go! Even if your goal is to walk 2 miles straight by March, making a plan to hit certain milestones along the way will help you achieve goals big and small. 

10. Remind Yourself of Your Why 

When you’re tired or frustrated or feel like giving up on your goal, think about why you started your fitness journey in the first place. You likely made a goal for a reason. Reminding yourself of why you’re doing this will help you conjure up the energy and will it takes to keep going. 

11. Keep a Journal

Besides remembering your why, it’s good to recall what a great run you had the other day, how proud you were to finish, how you felt when you got out there and got it done. Sure there will be ups and downs, but keeping a journal of your fitness journey can show you how hard you’ve worked and how far you’ve come, and that can give your motivation a lift.

Woman Posing for Picture in Sports Bra

12. Establish a Routine

Make fitness a regular part of your day and it will be easier to stick to your routine. One way of doing this is to exercise at the same time each day. However, it’s important to stay flexible, too,  in case you run into barriers. For instance, if you know you need to work late, switch your evening workout to the morning that day; If the weather forecast looks better later in the day, push your exercise to later if at all possible. 

Tip: If you have to wake up early to get your workout in, save time and sleep in your workout clothes. Exercising right after work?  Don't sit down and get comfy – change into your workout clothes right away! 

13. Invest in At-Home Workout Equipment

If the thought of trekking through snow, even just to go to the gym, sways you from wanting to work out, having equipment in your own home makes it easier to still get in your exercise. Owning a treadmill, weights, or a yoga mat allows your fitness (and goals!) to be more accessible.

14. Leave Yourself Motivational Notes

It might sound silly, but a reminder on your mirror, refrigerator door, or closet that “You’ve got this!”, “You can do it!”, and “You totally rock!” can be all the inspiration you need to keep at it. A little motivation can go a long way.

15. Make Daily Routines Become Workouts 

Sometimes trying to fit fitness into a busy schedule can be frustrating, but even when you can’t seem to carve out a block of time to exercise, you can still incorporate movement into your day.  Take the stairs, lunge your way to the kitchen, park far away from the entrance, get in a set of squats at the copy machine, or do yoga while binge-watching your favorite shows. Get creative enough, and you can get your workout in after all! 

16. Utilize Fitness Apps 

“There’s an app for that” can be said for just about everything these days, and fitness is no exception. There are a wide variety of apps that remind you it’s time to walk, help you with nutrition, keep track of your pace, your heart rate, your steps, and more. Having a fitness app is like having a training partner with you at all times.

17. Get Techy 

Since we’re talking apps, it makes sense to talk other technologies, too. From GPS watches to lights that help you see and be seen, to headphones so you can listen to motivational tunes, this techy gear can make a big difference in your workout mood. 

Tip: Make a playlist of your favorite upbeat tunes and you’ll breeze through your workout before you know it!

Person sleeping in running shoes

18. Get Plenty of Zzzz’s 

Let’s face it, when energy levels are zapped, it’s tough to get yourself to work out, so don’t skimp on sleep. Make sure you get at least 7 hours of shut eye every night, to make sure you get your workout in every day.

19. Eat Balanced Meals

Energy doesn’t only involve sleep, it has to do with how you fuel your body, too. Eat a well-balanced diet of fruits, veggies, grains, dairy, and protein to ensure your body has what it needs to get your workout done.

20. Talk Yourself Into it, Not Out of it 

It’s easy to come up with all sorts of reasons why you should skip working out. Empower yourself to combat excuses by having answers to each of them ahead of time, such as:

  • It’s too cold – but I have the right gear to keep me warm and dry. 
  • I’m too tired – but I’ll have more energy when I’m done
  • I don’t have time – but it’s just a half hour out of my day

21. Focus on the Benefits, Not Just Your Goal 

While a goal to work toward can keep you motivated, you can sometimes lose sight of it, making your commitment waver. If it’s hard to keep the light at the end of the tunnel in view, try thinking about all the benefits you are reaping along the way. 

Being active increases endorphins which lifts your mood – helpful when bright, sunny days are few and far between! Moving also boosts your energy, reduces stress, and improves not only your physical health, but your mental health as well.

“I enjoy getting outside for a run in the winter because the air is fresh and the snow just looks pretty. I get lost in my thoughts just admiring the beauty of nature."

– Merry Wilbert, Grand Rapids Sales Floor Leader & Sales Associate

22. Cut Yourself Some Slack 

Sometimes you just need a day off and that’s okay. Rest days are important to include in your routine to give your body a chance to recoup. If you’re not feeling well in your workout, go ahead and shorten it, and don’t be too hard on yourself. In fact, try treating yourself instead! Maybe get some new workout gear when you reach a milestone. Rewarding yourself for accomplishments is a great way to keep accomplishing things!  

“Coffee at a nearby shop after your run is a nice reward!”

– Mary Pearson, Downtown Grand Rapids Sales Associate

Pair of people smiling outside in activewear

23. Make it Fun!

You’re much more likely to stick with something if you have fun doing it, so don’t force yourself to exercise in a way you really don’t like. It might take some trial and error, but when you find an activity you enjoy, you’ll actually look forward to it.

Our Favorite Ways to Keep Moving All Winter in Michigan

Grand Rapids

Ice skating at Rosa Parks Circle or Millennium Park

Walking around the World of Winter Festival

Riding a fat tire bike at Indian Trails

Skiing or snowboarding in Cannonsburg

Strapping on some snowshoes and exploring Blandford Nature Center

Holland

Snowshoeing or cross-country skiing at Pigeon Creek

Going for a winter hike or hopping on a fat tire bike at Riley Trails or through Saugatuck Dunes State Park

Kalamazoo

Tubing at Echo Valley – carrying that big tube and climbing the hill is definitely a workout!

Hiking or snowshoeing through Lillian Anderson Arboretum on the Kzoo college campus

Running through the snowy woods and packed down trails of Asylum Lake

Birmingham & Northville

Skiing & snowboarding at Pine Knob

Snowshoeing, hiking and cross-country skiing at Maybury State Park

Hitting the Birmingham Booth Park sledding hill (what goes down, must climb up!)

Looking for gear to get going and the encouragement to keep going? We’ve got you! Head to Gazelle Sports for all your winter workout needs. You can do this!