The Key To Staying Active In The Winter 

Woman doing HIIT workout

It’s getting colder outside, which means that for many of us, our fitness routines are starting to look a little different. I’ll just come out and say it: it’s hard to stay in shape when it’s dark at 4:30 pm and freezing cold outside. 

Unsurprisingly, studies show that most people are less active during the colder months. I guess we humans just like to hibernate in the winter[1][2].  

But the problem is… we’re not bears. 

As humans, we need to move, and we need to keep moving each and every season. When we don’t, we start to gain weight, our respiratory endurance takes a hit, and we lose strength and flexibility. And perhaps worst of all, we get depressed. That winter slump isn’t only due to the lack of daylight; your body likes to move so it can produce endorphins[3]. 

On the other hand, when we keep moving all year, we’re much more likely to stay physically fit, and studies support physical activity for warding off the doom and gloom of seasonal affective disorder (SAD)[4].

So, instead of giving in to the darkness this winter, let’s talk about some simple and effective ways to stay active, healthy, and, dare I say… happy this winter. 

How To Keep Moving This Winter

Woman doing an online workout

Online Workouts

Online exercise programs have been around for a while, but since the pandemic, you can find almost every type of workout available at your fingertips. Even those classes you thought would never go virtual have likely made their way into an online platform. 

While there’s something special about exercising with the community, online workouts are a great failsafe when the snow’s got you locked in or, frankly, when you just aren’t feeling the social vibes. I’d say if the clock hits five and you start feeling that siren song of the sofa, have one or two online workouts in your back pocket that you can bang out before calling it a day. 

Plan Ahead To Get Outside

Look, I know that some climates are truly foreboding in the winter, but if you plan ahead, you can still find some pockets of time for an outdoor adventure. During the week, you may not be able to sneak away for a couple of hours, but if you plan it just right, you may be able to make it out for a hike on a sunny winter day. 

Gearing up can also make weathering the cold a lot more enjoyable. Grab some boots, gloves, and a heavy coat if you know the winter chill is coming. You may be surprised how the cold becomes much more bearable when you’ve layered yourself up. 

And if you need a little motivation, studies show that outdoor activity during the colder months results in burning more energy (calories) than at other times of the year. Why? It takes additional energy to heat your body[5][3].

 Pro tip: make your outdoor adventure something special; a beautiful mountain hike or a walk by a serene lake will get your engines running a lot faster than a walk around the neighborhood. 

Winter hike in the mountains

Body Weight HIIT Workouts

We’ve all been there: snowed in with no way to get out, and you feel like you’re just about to crawl out of your skin. Your body is screaming, “Move me!” but your mind is saying, “Where?!”

Body weight HIIT workouts are the perfect option if you’re looking to expend a lot of energy in a short time with no equipment or outdoor access.

Studies show that HIIT workouts can increase aerobic endurance, maximal oxygen uptake, and anaerobic capacity more than traditional aerobic exercise[6]. Furthermore, HIIT workouts are known for their ability to help you shed excess weight – specifically that unwanted weight that can accumulate around the waist[7]. 

If you’re familiar with HIIT workouts, you may be able to improvise and create your own, but here’s a simple routine if you’re looking for inspiration: 

Time interval (40 seconds on, 20 seconds off), three sets each

Make sure to warm up before you get moving.

  • Jumping jax 
  • Squat jump
  • Burpees
  • Push-ups
  • High knees
  • Lateral jumps

This entire workout should take about 18 minutes, but you can shorten or extend it to your preference. 

Stationary Bikes

Woman resting after a CAROL Bike workout

Stationary bikes are an excellent option for anyone who wants to keep moving regardless of what’s happening outside. While training outdoors has its advantages, there are unique benefits that training on an indoor machine has to offer. Specifically, you can adjust the settings on indoor cardio equipment like bikes to rev up your workout and push yourself beyond what may be available outdoors. Many people even find they can exceed their previous cardio limits by training on equipment, making their outdoor workouts feel like a breeze.

One of my favorite cardio machines is the CAROL bike. There are a lot of stationary bikes out there these days, but this bike is tailor-designed and AI-enhanced to help you optimize your cardio workout in several ways. And the best part is that even if you’re really short on time, you can get a massive cardio workout on this bike in just a couple of minutes. And I’m not exaggerating – it just takes a couple of minutes.

And while I like to tinker around with different workouts now and then, it was the research that really sold me on the CAROL bike – no surprise there. 

In a study evaluating the effectiveness of reduced-exertion high-intensity interval training (REHIT) on cardiometabolic fitness, the CAROL bike crushed it. Participants using the CAROL bike for just eight weeks saw a 62% reduction in risk factors for metabolic syndrome, including reduced blood pressure, waist circumference, triglycerides, and increased HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol)[8]. 

And remember how I mentioned that HIIT workouts can enhance your maximum oxygen capacity? Well, the same study found that participants who engaged in CAROL Bike’s REHIT workouts three times per week experienced a 12.3% surge in their VO2 max. For comparison, a traditional 30-minute workout only increases VO2 max 6.9%, so with just 10% of the time investment, CAROL Bike can nearly double your oxygen capacity[8].

CAROL Bike dashboard


Taking some downtime during the winter months isn’t bad, but we need to toe that delicate line between cutting back a bit and losing our healthy habits. My advice is to stay as active as possible while letting yourself enjoy a little bit of hibernation here and there. 

If you’re looking for ways to stay active during the winter, plenty of options exist. That said, one of the most effective I’ve found is using indoor equipment like the CAROL bike. It’s quick, fun, and highly effective at getting my heart rate up in a short amount of time. 

Enjoy these cooler months ahead, and remember that your cardio fitness won’t be patiently waiting for you in the spring; it needs some love all year round. 


  2. Garriga, Antonio, et al. “Impact of seasonality on physical activity: A systematic review.” International journal of environmental research and public health 19.1 (2021): 2.
  3. Stanaszek, Monika, et al. “Effect of Winter Outdoor Physical Activity on Body Composition and Motor Performance of Polish Adult Men.” Healthcare. Vol. 11. No. 16. MDPI, 2023.
  4. Drew, Elaine M., Bridget L. Hanson, and Kevin Huo. “Seasonal affective disorder and engagement in physical activities among adults in Alaska.” International journal of circumpolar health 80.1 (2021): 1906058.
  5. Cepeda, Magda, et al. “Seasonality of physical activity, sedentary behavior, and sleep in a middle-aged and elderly population: the Rotterdam study.” Maturitas 110 (2018): 41-50.
  6. Atakan, Muhammed Mustafa, et al. “Evidence-based effects of high-intensity interval training on exercise capacity and health: A review with historical perspective.” International journal of environmental research and public health 18.13 (2021): 7201.
  7. Batacan, Romeo B., et al. “Effects of high-intensity interval training on cardiometabolic health: a systematic review and meta-analysis of intervention studies.” British journal of sports medicine 51.6 (2017): 494-503.
  8. Cuddy, Tom F., Joyce S. Ramos, and Lance C. Dalleck. “Reduced exertion high-intensity interval training is more effective at improving cardiorespiratory fitness and cardiometabolic health than traditional moderate-intensity continuous training.” International journal of environmental research and public health 16.3 (2019): 483. 




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Smarter Not Harder: The Biohacker’s Guide to Getting the Body and Mind You Want is about helping you to become the best version of yourself by embracing laziness while increasing your energy and optimizing your biology.

If you want to lose weight, increase your energy, or sharpen your mind, there are shelves of books offering myriad styles of advice. If you want to build up your strength and cardio fitness, there are plenty of gyms and trainers ready to offer you their guidance. What all of these resources have in common is they offer you a bad deal: a lot of effort for a little payoff. Dave Asprey has found a better way.

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