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Warming Up to Winter Exercise

We all know the benefits of exercise. But when it comes to fall and winter, the nip in the air can make it hard to get moving. The following tips should warm you up to cold weather physical activity.

Break it up
Several sessions of physical activity during the day give benefits similar to one longer session---try three 10-minute exercise sessions in the morning, at lunch and in the evening.

Mix it up
Varying the types of activity will keep you from getting bored.


  • Join a mall-walking group, or buddy up with friends to walk outside or at an indoor track
  • Join Team Joslin and sign up for a walk or road race in the spring in support of Joslin’s High Hopes Fund; when you're committed to something, bailing out is not an option. 
  • Swim at an indoor pool
  • Join a fitness club that offers aerobics classes, cardiovascular and strength-training equipment.
  • Exercise at home (take the stairs; clean the house; walk in place; lift soup cans; do push-ups, crunches, calf raises or exercise videos).


  • Shovel 
  • Ski or snowboard
  • Sled
  • Snowshoe
  • Skate
  • Walk your dog
  • Build a snowman

Layer up
If you opt for outdoor activities, stay cool, dry and comfortable---in layers.

  • Innermost layer: a light garment made from a synthetic fabric, such as polypropylene that wicks away sweat from your body
  • Insulating layer: a sweater, sweatshirt or fleece pullover for warmth
  • Outermost layer: a garment that's waterproof and breathable, such as GORE-TEX, allowing sweat to escape
  • Layering rules also apply to gloves, hat and socks
  • Choose rugged, waterproof shoes with heavy-duty soles

Warm up
Once you're well insulated, be sure to warm up for five to 10 minutes indoors, before going outside. During your workout, you want to feel warm, not hot and sweaty.

Check up
If you check your blood glucose during cold weather activities remember:

  • Meters are temperature sensitive---the accuracy may be affected when it is too cold or too hot. Most meters work best within the 50 to 104 degree F range.
  • In cold weather, carry your meter and strips inside your clothes so your body heat can keep them in the correct temperature range.
  • When the temperature is too cold, find a warmer place to check your blood glucose.
  • If necessary, meters offer the option to use alternative sites for the drop of blood, but it is still best to stick your finger.
  • If you have questions, call your meter company's toll-free customer service number.

    *Always consult your healthcare provider before exercising in the cold.

Page last updated: September 18, 2019