Exercising Outdoors is Part of What Makes Michigan Winters Great

By: Karen Dybis | January 17, 2022
Winter Outdoor Exercising

Getting outside for a walk with the dog or shoveling snow definitely is a kind of wintertime exercise. But what if you’ve noticed your pants getting a bit tighter after the holidays and you need to get a heavy-duty sweaty workout in? 

Then there’s no better place than outside. Some exercise experts believe that cold weather–especially the kind we get all winter long in Metro Detroit–is an ideal way to get healthier, find new exercise interests and boost your metabolism all at the same time. Just bundle up with the right clothing, make sure you have correct shoes and get in Mother Nature’s frosty embrace for a good cardio boost. 

If you need to, make sure you check with your medical professionals who know you to make sure you are in good enough shape to start any exercise routine, inside or outside. Also, bring a friend or cardio buddy with you for safety if you are going out for longer periods of time in the cold and snow–they can help you crawl back to your car and turn on the heat if needed. 

Here are some places you can try and some outdoor exercise activities that are going on around Metro Detroit this winter. 

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Ice skating

Rinks are plentiful in outdoor parks around Metro Detroit throughout the winter months. These are often man-made ponds, so be careful to check that the ice is smooth enough for your skates or you might slip. That said, skating on ice like the rink at Campus Martius in downtown Detroit is not only enjoyable but it burns enough calories that you could potentially pick up a few more bottles of eggnog to enjoy into the New Year and beyond if you get that heartrate up. 


With so many great ski shops and hills around Metro Detroit, you can take the family on a short ski vacation without having a more than two-hour drive there and back. Check out Pine Knob Ski Resort in Clarkston, Alpine Valley in White Lake, Mt. Holly Ski & Snowboard Resort in Holly or Mt. Brighton Ski Resort in Brighton. All offer lessons as well if you want to start this heart-healthy activity as a New Year’s resolution or as a way to get out of the house for a few fun hours.



Small efforts can have a huge impact–and that comes with working out at your local park or finding a park where fitness enthusiasts come together. You can check out the calisthenics equipment at Hope Playground, build by the local Detroit Barcode Team. This outdoor gym includes a pull-up bars station (2 horizontal bars), gymnastic rings, parallel bars and also low bars for push ups. It’s a great spot for calisthenics routines and also street workout apps and programs. The workout equipment is usable for general functional and outdoor fitness training.

Bike riding

Bike Dearborn and other local bicycling groups are still getting together this winter–weather permitting, to go around great neighborhoods, tracks and trails together. You will want to make sure you have a helmet and a tuned-up bike, but if you have the gusto to get out there, there are other wintertime cyclists that will go for a ride with you and yours. 

Walking tour

This is a low-impact way to get your miles while learning something new. Many local history tour companies have winter walking tours, and you can learn about African-American history, architecture, bar culture and much more with the help of these groups. Some to check out include Detroit History Tours, Detroit City Tours, Detroit Experience Factors or Black Scroll.