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On the Outside Health and Fitness Podcast we explore new and fun ways to get fit on the trail, on the water, on the slopes and outside. Discover the latest in health and fitness from leading experts and get tips on fun ways to get fit. We're getting outside the box, outside our comfort zone and outside and in shape.

Dec 14, 2015

Summer Fun in the Winter

In this episode of the Outside Health and Fitness podcast I share seven fun summer activities you can do even in the winter!

On Today’s show you’ll discover…

  • …how to put some summer fun back in your winter life;
  • …how getting outdoors for fun activities can help you beat the winter blues,
  • …why many of the things you love to do in the summer are even better when you do them in the winter!

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Cabin Fever

When winter sets in it’s easy to “hunker down” and stay inside…and sometimes that’s smart but do that too much and it can lead to cabin fever. Cabin fever is a depressing sort of feeling and a reaction to being isolated in a small space, with nothing to do for an extended period of time.

What are the symptoms? Well you become irritable, you sleep a lot, you start distrusting people and have an urge to go outside even in bad weather.  One therapy for cabin fever is as simple as getting out and interacting with nature. In fact, research has shown that even brief interactions with nature can promote improved cognitive functioning and overall well-being.

So what if all those things you love to do in the summer were available year round?  That might make it more fun to get outside and avoid cabin fever right? Well, many of them are and you might be surprised to find they are even better during the winter months.

7 Ways to Have Summer Fun in the Winter

Go to the Beach

It’s almost impossible to think about summer fun without thinking about going to the beach. But guess what? The beaches are still open in the winter….and I’ll bet you can get a really good parking spot too.

Ok….but what do you do at the beach in the winter? Well, most of the things you do at the beach in the summer you can do in the winter like:

  • collect shells
  • have a cookout
  • take awesome pictures
  • play volleyball…
  • Go for a walk…

and….it will definitely be a trip to the beach you’ll remember!

Go for a Run

Running in cold weather can be great and so don’t put your sneakers away during the winter. You’ll need to modify your running gear and adapt a few different strategies but you’ll be surprised how enjoyable it is to run in cooler temps.

Here are few tips to get you started.

The first thing to think about are your shoes and feet. You’ll want to keep them warm and dry.

Mark Grandonico, president of the Maine Track Club in Portland says to keep your feet warm run in shoes that have the least amount of mesh. and be sure to wear socks that wick away wetness so your feet stay dry too.

Now what to wear… you’ll want to dress for temps 20 degrees warmer than the temp outside (you know you’ll heat up when you get going) so if you’re a little cool when you start that’s a good thing!

Select Hi-Tech clothing that wicks moisture for your base layer and look for outer layers with zippers around the neck and arms to vent as you start to heat up. Always bring a hat and gloves because most of the time you’ll want to wear them.

I’ve shared this cold weather running tip before but it’s worth repeating start your run into the wind. That way you want be getting blasted with arctic air on your way back after you’ve worked up a big sweat. So those are a few quick tips.

Go for a bike ride (Fat Bikes)

If running isn’t your thing maybe you’d like to do a little biking this winter. I recently wrote an article for the newsletter on FAT Bikes which are designed specifically for letting you hit the trail during snow season.

If you’ve never seen a FAT Bike imagine a mountain bikes that had WAY too much cake…they have big FAT tires that float through the snow and give you the traction you need for big fun in slippery conditions.  So if you love mountain biking and you want to keep riding right through the winter this year consider trying a Fat Bike.

Go Camping

Now another summer time activity that you really should consider this winter is camping! I know, I know…you’re saying to yourself what are you crazy? Now it sounds more extreme than it is.

It is really a lot of fun and with no mosquitoes, and no crowds it’s a whole new wilderness experience. Obviously, you’ll need some different gear, and you’ll need to plan a bit differently for a winter camping trip. But there are plenty of resources online and offline to help you out. I’ll have a links in the show notes to some excellent winter camping resources if you’re interested in giving it a try this year.

Go for a Hike

If you like the idea of getting out in the woods but maybe not staying the night winter hiking might be a better choice for you. If you love hiking in the summer you’ll love it in the winter.

Now just like with running you’ll want to change up your gear and be prepared for cooler temps. Be sure to bring plenty of water because even though it’s cold you can still dehydrate…in fact with more gear on your back, and wicking materials you’ll lose water at a very fast rate.

Go Fishing

Fishing in the winter can be a blast. It’s simple to do and doesn’t take much equipment.

Here’s what you need to get started:

  1. I would recommend a guide or someone who’s knowledgeable about ice fishing to show you the ropes the first time
  2. Fishing License
  3. Auger
  4. Bait
  5. Good warm clothing
  6. Thick ice on a frozen lake or pond

and that is pretty much it!

Grille Outside

One of our favorite things to do in the summer is cook on the grille and guess what? The grille works in the winter too!  I found some good tips for grilling in colder temps from Weber

They remind you that:

  • It gets dark early so make sure you have a light by the grille or use a headlamp so you can see if it’s supper you’re cooking.
  • Keep a path clear to the grille and keep the grill brushed off so you have a clean surface to set plates etc.
  • Be sure to tuck loose clothing away….don’t want a scarf catching fire while you’re flipping burgers or those fish you caught on your ice fishing trip.
  • Don’t forget to use the side burner it’s perfect for heating up milk for hot coco.
  • Even with the white stuff on the ground smelling a grille will make it feel like summertime.

Resources and Links Mentioned in the Show

Winter Running:

Winter Camping:

Winter Hiking:

Ice Fishing: