The Weather-Or-Not-Workout

Keep your fitness forecast bright with these workouts that get you moving no matter what it’s like outside.
Published November 25, 2016

Weather forecast: Cold and Rainy

For stay-dry alternatives, we spoke with Seattle-based DVD star and gym owner Kari Anderson and Portland, Oregon based fitness writer Sarah Bowen Shea. They both have to deal with more than 150 rainy days a year.

If you usually walk… go mall walking. Many malls open early so you can do laps before shoppers arrive, says Anderson. Some malls even have groups that meet regularly. Call the business office at your local mall for more information.

If you usually run… take an indoor cycling class. Indoor cycling can give you an equally intense lower body workout, says Shea, co-author of Run Like a Mother. The non-impact workout will also give your joints a break, and a competitive class setting might motivate you to push yourself harder.

If you usually ride a bike… lift weights. Cycling is a lower-body workout, and many cyclists don’t train their arms, shoulders, chest, and back as often as they should, says Shea. Rainy days are a perfect opportunity to mix up your routine. Grab a set of dumbbells and do some upper body moves such as front and side arm raises, curls, and kickbacks.

If you usually swim… do Pilates. It, too, is a total-body toning workout and itgives you a similar elongating feeling. Search online to find a variety of DVDs.

If you usually do boot camp…create a home version and recruit trainees. Mimic the moves from your regular class and use exercise equipment, chairs, and steps in your home to create stations. Then invite a classmate, your spouse, or kids to join you. “You become the coach,” says Anderson. “So you work harder!”

If you usually play tennis…take a step class or other exercise/dance class that features quick footwork or speed and agility drills. All the side-to-side movement will enhance your game. You can also look for similar workouts on DVD, such as Anderson’s Sweat Express II.

If you usually play golf…do yoga. The poses build strength and flexibility especially in your abs, back, and hips—key muscles used to swing a golf club. Practice it regularly and you could improve your game.

Weather forecast: Snow and Ice

For suggestions to stay active in the winter, we went to American Council on Exercise spokesperson Chris Freytag, who lives in Minneapolis where winter temps average -8 ºC, and 2010 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year, Carol Murphy of Rochester, NY, the snowiest US city.

If you usually walk…strap on snowshoes and head to a trail or golf course. If you can walk you can snowshoe, says Freytag. It gets your heart rate up so you won’t mind the cold, and exploring the great outdoors can boost your mood.

If you usually run…do intervals on a treadmill. Alternate short bouts—30 to 60 seconds—of fast or uphill running with slightly shorter recovery intervals at a slower pace and no incline. “It’s a mind game to prevent boredom,” says Freytag.

If you usually lift weights at the gym…shovel snow. Bend your knees like you’re squatting as you scoop up snow. Combined with lifting and throwing, you can get a total body workout while you clear your sidewalk.

If you usually go to exercise classes…turn on Exercise TV. Available on demand or online, you can choose from up to 150 free workouts, including yoga, Pilates, and routines from Freytag, creator of the 10 Pound Slimdown Xtreme System.

If you usually take Zumba…just dance. Crank up your favourite tunes and groove around the house, says Murphy.

Weather forecast: Hazy, Hot, and Humid

To beat the heat, here are suggestions from Exercise TV trainer Jessica Smith, who lives in Miami, the second hottest city in the US and one of the most humid.

If you usually walk… do an indoor walking DVD. “All you need is a little space in your living room,” says Smith. The routines are basic but not boring. You can even choose the mileage—from 1- to 5-mile routines—and set your own pace. Check out for dozens of options.

If you usually run… try water running. Hop in a pool and run laps in the shallow end or use a flotation vest or belt to log miles in the deep end. Added toning benefit: Water provides 800 times more resistance than running on land.

If you usually ride a bike… get a trainer. Not a person; the metal kind of trainer that easily transforms an outdoor bike into a stationary cycle. Basic models start at about $100. To really simulate an outdoor ride, set up a fan to blow on you and pop in a Virtual Active DVD ($19.95 or $7.95 to download, The stunning footage of some of North America’s most scenic roads will inspire you. “Plus, you don’t have to worry about traffic!” Smith says.

If you usually take a boot camp class...pop in a boot camp DVD. You can find a variety at, including 10 Minute Solution: Ultimate Bootcamp, featuring Smith. Each “boot camp” is only 10 minutes, so if you’re short on time or just tired, you can do just one or two of the five routines.

If you usually play tennis… have a virtual match. Whether you have Xbox, PlayStation, or Wii, you can practice your backhand and serve right in your family room. Invite your tennis partner over to join you for more fun.

Michele Stanten is a certified fitness instructor, author of Walk Off Weight and Firm Up in 3 Weeks, and a board member of the American Councilon Exercise.