How to Change Up Your Winter Exercise Plan (And Stay Warm!)

Health and Fitness
winter exercise plan

What’s the weather like where you are?

Here in Central Oregon, we’re in the middle of a cycle of snow, rain, ice, repeat. Yuck.

I imagine it’s about the same where you are. Unless you’re reading this on a beach in Brazil  (I hope so! Send me a postcard if you are!) then you’re probably dealing with something pretty similar when you open your door.

So let’s explore some options for inside workouts. Inside. You know, where it doesn’t snow or ice or whip you with high winds.


For Christmas a few weeks ago we spent time in Oklahoma City with the Chairman-In-Training and his family. (I did a lot while I was there: shopped for workout clothes, worked on my 2019 goals, and had one too many helpings of this fantastic green chili egg puff.)

My son’s wife, affectionately know as The Llama, talks often about her current workout love, barre3. She wanted to show me the ropes so we scheduled a class and off we went.

Whew! Barre3 is tough! But it’s also a great workout option for women of any age and especially for those beyond 50. It’s considered a “low-impact” workout, which means you’re strengthening the muscles without putting undue pressure on your joints. However, low-impact doesn’t mean your body is getting off the hook.

I can personally attest to how challenging the barre workout was. So can The Chairman who had the joy of carrying my bags though the airport the next day (and almost me) because I was still sore!

Barre3 has studios across the nation, you can look to see if there is one close to you. Additionally, Pure Barre is very similar and again has locations across the country.



A new workout class can be intimidating. All their regulars have their ‘spot’ staked out so you’re not sure where you’re supposed to stand when you walk in. Everyone else is in perfect shape will do the exercises effortlessly while you flail around, not 100% sure how your arm is supposed to turn. You suspect the instructor is secretly rolling their eyes at you…the list goes on.

Don’t be silly! Instructors teach these classes because they like helping newbies out and showing them the ropes. Everyone else was new once too and will likely offer a knowing smile and answer your questions if you ask. Especially this time of year, classes are full of visitors as people work on their goals for the new year. You will not be the only rookie, I promise.

Admittedly, I wasn’t entirely enthusiastic about attending barre3 with The Llama (all a reflection of my anxiety about the class, none on The Llama.) But after class I was enthusiastic and glad I had tried. Sure, I couldn’t carry my carry-on the next day but I was the good kind of sore, the kind that makes you feel accomplished.

I am planning to make barre classes a regular part of my winter workout.


Part of my responsibility as a blogger is sharing myself trying new things, even at the risk of being photographed in some pretty strange looking poses.  Look at this move:

Workout Ideas for Winter

It’s just that, over and over again. And over. And then maybe one more time for good measure. This exercise move is called The Clamshell and it’s explained in-depth here with various modifications. It’s really, really good for your inner thighs (and by good, I mean it will make you incredibly sore the next day). You’ll notice the article specifically says not to lift your toes from the ground, but at least in barre3 class the teacher told me to. I promise, I was following instructions!

Here’s another, showing the two ends of another deceptively challenging exercise. Yes, I am smiling (sort of) but that’s really for your benefit.

Workout Ideas for Winter

This is a full-body-in-pain sort of move. It’s one of those that has the potential to make your whole body shake from fatigue. (That’s how you know it’s working.)

Here’s how to enjoy this sensation for yourself. First, lay on your side and stretch your top leg and top arm as far as you can without falling over. Next,  contract both appendages in so your rolled tight into a ball, pulling both your elbow and your knee to your chest. This is not as easy as it looks. Everything hurts here.

Out. In. Out. In. Out. In. (Or possibly Ow. In. Ow. In.) Repeat endlessly, pausing occasionally to shoot Death Ray glares toward barre instructor. Out. In. Out. In. You get the idea.

The great part about this move is that it’s working your legs, your glutes, your obliques, your arms. Everything. So it’s worth it.



Workout Ideas for Winter

One of the benefits of these moves, and others like them, is they require very little stuff. No big treadmill (aka: makeshift clothes rack) or anything like that. A couple of small hand weights that are light will do the trick. Don’t get overconfident and buy heavy ones. Even the teacher in these classes uses two pound weights! A small, grippy ball and a yoga/exercise mat if you have one.

Voila, that’s it!

Go Ahead. Try Something New. You Can Do It!

I encourage you to try a new workout this month. Winter is the perfect time for it.  Not only can you escape the cold, changing up your routine by trying something new will help fight workout boredom and those post-Christmas pounds.

Don’t think barre is right for you?  Then consider these options – Zumba, water aerobics, yoga, or Pilates. In past years, I have tried all and enjoyed them all.

Well…okay. Except Zumba. Specifically, Trampoline Zumba (no kidding, this is a thing).

One of my novels, Apart at the Seams, includes a scene in which the heroine, who is on a mission to do things she’s never done before, takes Trampoline Zumba. She lasted eight whole minutes, which was two more than I did.

So, fine. The Zumba workout didn’t work out for me.  But you might love it. You also might love barre. Or Yoga. Or Pilates. Or maybe a even a spin class.  You’ll never know if you don’t try .

If you really struggle to drag yourself to a new place, bring a friend. Having a wingman makes everything more fun.  That way, even if the workout you try turns out to be your version of Trampoline Zumba, you’ll still have a survival story to share and laugh about for years to come. More than worth the price of admission, right?

So take a chance! Beat the cold and shake off those winter doldrums with a workout that will get your muscles working and your heart pumping! (Just be sure to plan on carrying a light purse the next day.)


Workout Ideas for Winter

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