Staying active over winter break isn’t just for college students—these healthy tips are great for undergrads, teaching assistants, and profs alike. If you’re having trouble finding ways to stay active, especially after the holidays, consider trying out at least one of these ideas to keep your body moving between semesters.

Healthy tips

Oregon State University’s Recreation and Sports department website gives examples of ways to stay active in the article, “8 Healthy Tips for Winter Break.” Here are a few ideas the contributors recommended:

  • At home workouts, use body weight. You can do tricep pushups from your couch—and if you’re in the middle of a binge-watching marathon (college students and professors alike may want to catch up on some small screen storytelling over winter break), you can work out while you watch.
  • After your Netflix binge, get on your warm weather gear and go out for a walk.
  • Take part in a physical challenge. At OSU, that’s the 100+ Mile Challenge. But you can find all sorts of athletic challenges through your local Y, a Facebook group, or fellow activity seekers in your social circle.

Alice Henneman of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln offered additional options in “9 Tips for Staying Active over the Winter Holidays.”

  • Wear comfortable shoes “so you can get moving whenever there’s an opportunity,” she wrote. Henneman advised picking a parking spot farther from your destination to get the extra walk in.
  • Use your phone to help you work out by downloading a fitness app. Not sure where to start? Check out the Cengage Brain post, “10 best fitness apps to gamify your workout.”
  • Traveling? Check out where there are tracks and trails before you go, so you can spend some of your trip outdoors.
  • Clean your house. You can end up doing a lot of bends, squats, running up and down the stairs, and stretching by doing some concentrated cleaning.
  • Look for a fun run. There are often plenty of opportunities to run a 5k as the new year begins, but if that’s more than you’re ready to do (or it’s just too cold to fathom), there are often shorter, one-mile runs that raise money for charities. If you’re really daring, you could look for a penguin plunge or a similar event, which typically involves some sort of run that ends in jumping in freezing cold water. It could be a great icebreaker for those early semester introductions!

Commit to stay active

In Reaching Your Potential: Personal and Professional Development, Fourth Edition, Robert K. Throop and Marion B. Castellucci acknowledged that it can be hard to stick with an exercise routine once you’ve started it. “Many people start an exercise program with the best intentions, and within several months they quit,” they wrote (Throop, 141). While winter break is usually only three weeks rather than three months, it can be difficult to stick with a program even that long when you don’t have your regular schedule to keep you on track. But even better, if you start good habits over winter break, you might stay active during the semester as well. Troop and Castellucci recommended:

  • Make an agreement with a friend or relative to commit to exercising. Write down your goals.
  • Make a specific plan, including the number of days you will exercise, what you will do, and how long you want to stick with it.
  • Give yourself rewards for success.

How do you stay active over winter break?

Reference: Throop, Robert K., and Marion B. Castellucci. 2011. Reaching Your Potential: Personal and Professional Development, 4th ed. Boston, MA: Wadsworth.