5 Ways to Stay Active Outdoors in the Winter

I can remember exactly one vacation I’ve taken that wasn’t active in some way, shape or form: my honeymoon. For that, I was quite happy to sit on a beach in Tahiti and pretty much rotate between looking out at the blue lagoon-like water in awe, swimming in the pool and sipping drinks in a hammock. After 1.5 years of planning a wedding while living 2,000 miles apart, that was perfect. Other than that trip though, vacations have been purposely active (like this past summer when we hiked some 50 something miles in 5 days out west including 16 of them in one day in The Narrows), planned around a race (when I was way more into running than I am now) or just spontaneously that way because we don’t do sitting down and relaxing too well.

Columbia turbodown jacket and minx boots

So it’s no surprise that this Saturday we’re headed down to North Carolina for my brother’s 30th birthday. On the agenda?

Hiking, dirt biking, fishing, rock climbing and mountain biking.

We’re renting a ridiculously oversized house for just the 4 of us and I’m guessing we won’t even touch half the amenities in it because we’ll be too busy exhausting ourselves on the trails of the National Forrest the house sits on.

Although, the hot tub has my name written all over it at night. The weather should be gorgeous and I think we planned this kind of perfectly to pretty much extend our fall by a week since the beginning of November in NY is pretty much the end of the foliage while it’s just the beginning in the Asheville area. Temps are chilly in the morning and evening and a fall like mid 60s during the day. It’ll be the perfect opportunity to break in my new Turbodown jacket and Minx boots.

Columbia turbodown jacket

I’ve got plenty of winter gear (hell, there’s almost 6 months of that crap weather here in NY) but most of it is job specific (huge snow boots to combat snow drifts while shoveling, ski gear or workout gear) or, just big puffy “standing outside for 8 hours in the cold” kind of gear. I don’t have much versatile/mid-weight gear good for all-purpose activities.

The Turbodown jacket is thin and super lightweight yet packs a punch when it comes to heat retention. I love how minimal it is. You barely even notice it’s on, perfect for early morning hikes when the last thing you want is a big bulky jacket but it’s still way too cold for just a long sleeve shirt.

The boots though might be my favorite. They’re going to get A LOT of use this winter, I can already tell. From quick grocery store runs when it’s wet, slushy and snowy to hikes and walks on the bike trail when Ginger starts getting stir crazy and prancing around the house whining until I finally cave to the cold and take her outside. They’re stylish, lightweight but still super warm without the baggage of a huge chunky boot.

Columbia minx boot

So in the spirit of winter appropriate clothing, let’s talk about ways to stay active outside this season. Because, the novelty of sitting on the couch in sweats with some hot chocolate and a fire gets old on about day 3.

5 ways to stay active outdoors in the winter:

  1. Going for a run outside but dreading that blast of cold air? Warm up inside. Whether it’s jumping jacks in the living room or a bit more legit on the dreadmill treadmill, do something to get your heart pumping and blood flowing before stepping outside. It won’t be nearly as jarring when you open that door.
  2. Remember how to be a kid. Go play! Seriously, think of snow as fun instead of dreading the chore of shoveling it as an adult. Make a snowman, snow angel, throw snowballs, whatever. This might be slightly less awkward if you actually have kids around to do this with but if you’re like me, just embrace the awkward neighbor stares and be cool with being 30 something but acting like you’re 10. And just think about how much more awesome that hot chocolate will taste after a frigid snowball fight.
  3. Learn a winter sport. I’m always game for new things, especially when there’s a competitive edge to them. Snowshoeing? Skiing? Snowboarding? Ice skating? Try one, you might become addicted.
  4. Put the snowblower away and get out the shovel. Our driveway is almost a tenth of a mile long and steep. Very steep. So there ain’t no way I’m shoveling the entire thing in a blizzard but, even just shoveling the flat portion in front of the garage is better than nothing. You’ll realize how great of a workout it is when your entire arm and shoulder are sore the next day.
  5. Instead of boredom eating (we all do it in the winter), go for a quick walk. I can’t tell you how many times I stand in front of the pantry around 3pm out of pure boredom (or procrastination from work) and 90% of the time end up with a piece of chocolate in my hand (wha?? how did that happen?). When that happens, grab your boots and jacket and go for a quick walk around the neighborhood instead. The fresh air will feel great and your thighs will thank you.

“Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Columbia through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Columbia outerwear, all opinions are my own.” 


  1. Tina muir

    Great tips! I know I am running crazy, but I honestly sometimes prefer running on those really cold days. The feeling afterwards as you stand there almost steaming, but so proud you did it, thats a great feeling :) Dressing appropriately is definitely key though :)

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  4. Marla L Roth

    It’s April, making cornish hens. if I cannot find cranberries, what other fruit can I use besides the apple?

    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      You could use dried cranberries, just reconstitute them first in warm water or juice.


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