Winter Fitness Ideas for Teens

Does your teenager’s activity level plummet with the temperatures every winter? When my son was in high school he played sports in the fall and in the spring, but every winter he became much more sedentary—making it harder for him to be in good physical shape for his spring sport—not to mention inducing a fair amount of boredom. On the other hand, my teen daughter likes to snowboard whenever she has the chance during the winter; she also enjoys sledding. (For some reason, however, she does not enjoy shoveling snow though.) Not everybody likes outdoor winter activities (me included), but it’s recommended that children and teens get 1 hour of physical activity daily. Luckily there are options aplenty for both types of kids!

Creamy Parsnip Soup
Need a way to warm up after playing hard outside? Creamy Parsnip Soup is delicious, and, as a bonus, good for staying hydrated.

Investigate winter activities in your community

Local events, classes and activities are a great way to get your teenager engaged in regular physical activity during the winter. The key here is fun and consistency—something done every week (or a couple times a week) is better than something done just once a season for fun. Explore what is available in your town or the neighboring town and you’ll increase the chances that your teen will be able to round up a friend or two (which can also mean a better chance of carpooling and less driving around in winter weather)! Here are some ideas:

  • Your community center (weekly trips to the nearest ski resort or snow tubing facility, indoor recreational team sports, open gyms and swimming)
  • YMCA/YWCA (teen time in the fitness center, dance classes, yoga classes and an indoor track are possibilities)
  • Skating: both indoor and outdoor skating rinks (roller skating or ice skating) offer a great way to not only learn to skate or learn to play hockey, but the whole family can enjoy skating time together during open skate times
  • Boys and Girls Clubs have lots of options for indoor fun in many communities, including things like basketball and bringing typical outdoor playground games inside (think foursquare, hopscotch and hula hooping)

Use winter months to learn a new physical skill

The time between January and March is long enough to learn foundational skills in new sports or physical pursuits. Things your teen may not consider during the warmer months might suddenly become appealing. Consider these ideas:

  • Martial arts lessons
  • Dance lessons (social dancing, ballet, tap, hip hop, etc)
  • Teen weight lifting classes (at some fitness centers and community centers)
  • Indoor rock climbing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Ski lessons
  • Archery instruction
  • Swimming/diving lessons
  • Winter camping instruction
  • Indoor tennis lessons
  • Indoor sports conditioning/leagues for spring sports

Don’t forget free activities that are just plain fun

Sometimes getting a bunch of kids together for some good old-fashioned fun is just what’s needed to shake off winter doldrums. How about…

  • Sledding at a nearby hill
  • Skating on a local pond
  • A scavenger hunt
  • A friendly snowball fight
  • A dog-walking outing (everyone bring a dog along for doggie and teen social time)