Just because it’s cold outside, doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything to keep your fitness levels up. After all, exercising regularly should be a year-round routine, not something you do when the weather is perfect. Besides, wintertime also happens to be when the holidays are in full swings. This means there's a great chance that you're experiencing the notorious holiday weight gain. 

But why is it hard for you to lose weight during winter?

  • You get too much sleep

During summer, when the sun is shining brightly, it is easier for you to get up from the bed and be productive. But, if it is cold, it feels like you want to stay in bed. We all experience how cold weathers can make us feel drowsy. If you oversleep, your body does not exert too much effort. And this prevents you from burning calories; that is why it is hard for you to lose weight when it is cold. 

  • You want to stay inside the house

If it’s cold outside, you will most likely prefer to just stay beside the fire. It is hard to perform physical activities such as walking or jogging outside. Indeed, it may be hard to be active when it’s cold outside, but you need to encourage yourself to keep moving to burn off those fats. 

  • Seasonal affective disorder

Sunlight can affect your mood and your entire well-being. It is a type of depression which is connected to seasons. Usually, these are felt from fall to winter. This disorder affects your energy. If you lack energy, you will most likely end up, sitting, or lying. And this will most likely make you fat because you are not burning any energy (1).

  • Holiday meals

If it is a holiday season, you are most likely attending lots of gatherings and parties. These can make you eat and drink lots of foods and beverages. We all know how foods and drinks can make us fat. That is why if it is winter, you are most likely to gain weight. 

  • Evolution

Well, a study shows that it is your natural tendency to eat a lot during winter (2). Before, people experience scarcity during winters. Now, we already have lots of food sources even if it is winter. Overeating leads to gain weight much worse obesity. That is the reason why it is hard for you to lose weight during this season. 

  • Sugar is everywhere

Most holidays, such as Thanksgiving, Halloween, Hanukkah, and Christmas, revolve around foods, especially desserts. Sugar can make you gain weight. Too much sugar will not only make you gain some pounds, but it will also make you at risk of various diseases, such as diabetes. If you tend to eat more sweets, it will be hard for you to lose weight. 

  • You’re already overweight

A study shows that those who are already overweight are more prone to weight gain during holidays compared to those who are already lean (3). If you are already overweight, you need to be cautious with your portion sizes. You should have a healthy diet and regular exercise to prevent gaining more weight. 

  • You’re groggy

Your hormones are affected if your body lacks sunlight. During cold weather, your body produces more sleep hormones that are why you feel sleepy. If this happens, you are less likely to be motivated to move around or go to the gym. To maintain your physical activities, you should get up early while the sun is up and start your exercise routine. 

  • Increase in metabolism

A change in metabolism can prevent you from burning fats, which leads you to weight gain. Your body has the initiative to burn energy to keep you warm when it is cold. That is why your metabolism increases. And since your body increasingly demands energy, you need to consume more foods. That is another thing which prevents you from losing weight. 

  • Less fresh foods

During winter, fresh foods may be scarce. That is why you tend to pick comfort foods just to satisfy your daily meals. Besides, you cannot find fresher items in the grocery stores, and you have no choice but to select available foods. Perhaps, the healthiest choice is for you to have frozen fruits and vegetables instead. 

Ways to Lose Weight in Winter

To keep that weight off when the weather is chilly, there are some fun winter exercises that you could try. To help you out, here are some great exercising ideas to enjoy when it’s snowy outside.

  1. Walking

Something as simple as walking is now recommended as a preventive strategy against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. Taking long walks may be the simplest way to stay fit during wintertime as it is an innate human behavior. But walking in cold weather may give your metabolism the boost it needs to stay fit. According to a study published in Sports Medicine, exercising in cold weather result in greater fat metabolism. The body needs to adapt to cold environments by boosting the resting metabolic rate, and the end result of this is greater fat burning when exercise is done in the cold (4)

  1. Yoga

Yoga is a simple and accessible type of physical activity that you can easily do from the comfort of your home. Anyone can do yoga without risking injury and discomfort. Those suffering from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis may find this type of workout perfectly suitable as arthritis symptoms tend to worsen during cold and humid weather. Studies show that yoga is just as effective or even better than other forms of exercise in improving overall health and levels of fitness (5). So, if you had any worries that yoga was too gentle of a workout to keep you fit, know that this is simply not the case.

  1. Skiing

What better way to rejoice in the joys of winter than to participate in winter sports such as skiing? Skiing is a great way to spend more time outdoors during winter, and that also involves friends and family. However, do be cautious with this type of activity as injuries do happen when skiing. To lower your risks of injuries, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons suggests warming up, staying hydrated, adhering to safety rules, and knowing your limits when it comes to selecting your ski runs (6). Also, make sure to wear appropriate protective gear if you plan to make skiing a part of your winter exercise option.

  1. Hiking

Hiking is one of those outdoorsy activities that are especially fun in winter. There are plenty of national parks and other nature resort with hiking trails to choose from. Other than getting plenty of fresh air and physical activity from hiking, you also get the emotional benefits that go with the experience. The therapeutic effect of spending time in a natural setting is now well-known and other than improving mental well-being, time in nature was also found to provide protection against cancer according to research studies that found an increase in natural killer cells after subjects spent some time in wooded areas (7)

  1. Swimming

If you have access to indoor pools or thermal springs, then there’s no reason not to swim when the weather is chilly. Swimming flexes all major muscle groups and joints in your body and is very easy to do as it takes a load of gravity away. This is especially beneficial for those suffering from any of the types of arthritis. A study that was published last year in the Journal of Rheumatology found that swimming reduced pain and improve joint functioning in middle-aged adults with osteoarthritis (8). But swimming is also a great winter option for weight management and improving cardiovascular health.   

  1. Treadmill running

Running outside when the ground is covered in snow is a bit risky. Even if you have the right equipment, you never know where there’s a patch of frozen ground hiding underneath all that pile of snow. If you’d really like to go for a run without the risk of fractures, you can always hit the treadmill at your local gym. This is especially a great option if you’re not an outdoorsy person and don’t like getting cold when you’re trying to work out. 

  1. Avoid sleeping too much

Lack of sleep will not only make you gain weight, but it will also increase your risk of a host of diseases such as obesity and diabetes (9). But if you get too much sleep, the same will happen. It is as damaging as a lack of sleep. Some of the consequences of too much sleep include blood sugar fluctuation, chronic inflammation, and depression, and these are all affecting your weight. 

  1. Avoid meals that can make you fat

Desserts are always present during the holidays. And these are usually high in sugar. Foods rich in sugar are not good for your health. Overeating these can make you fat. Besides, these do not contain enough nutrients. You will notice that even if you have eaten too much, you easily get hungry. Sugar cannot satisfy your satiety. That is why even if these sweets are too tempting to eat during holiday seasons, you should avoid or at least control yourself from eating these. These foods make you gain weight and increase your risk of hosts of diseases such as diabetes. 

  1. Eat healthy foods

You may find it hard to purchase fresh foods from the market during winter. But, there are alternatives to these. You can find frozen fruits and vegetables in grocery stores. Although these are not as healthy as fresh foods, these contain more nutrients compared to other comfort foods. Comfort foods are unhealthy, and these can make you at risk of various diseases such as obesity.  So, you should avoid eating processed foods to help you lose weight. Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle can aid in your goal. 

  1. Running

Well, you may be lazy to go outside and run around your place. But, running in the cold weather is actually more fun and easier compared to running during warm weather. A study even showed that athletes run longer and faster in colder temperatures (10). If you want to lose weight, then you should aim to run even if you don’t feel like moving. Experts say that it is easier to run in the cold than in the heat.  If that is the case, then it is more exciting, especially if you are not used running. Why not start your running routine during this season?


There are several reasons why it is hard for you to lose weight during winter. It cannot be denied, but the cold weather can make you feel lazy all the time. It is really hard to lose weight, especially if you sleep all the time, eat lots of foods, and experience a change in metabolism. Well, you have to keep moving to burn off those calories. 

Staying fit during winter shouldn't be hard if you have the will and the way to exercise. There are plenty of exercise options out there, and that doesn't require perfect weather conditions to be done correctly. The ones listed here are best to get you motivated when the weather is cold and gloomy. Which one you should choose, of course, depends on your personal preferences and lifestyle. But all are great to keep your fitness levels up while you wait for the cold winter months to be finally over. 


(1) https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20364651
(2) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160106091840.htm
(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11206847
(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8248684
(5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20105062
(6) http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00321
(7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21996763
(8) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26773104
(9) https://www.huffpost.com/entry/will-too-much-sleep-make_b_11345418
(10) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5198806/

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