In the cold season, it is not always easy to get excited about sports. On the one hand, the options this winter 20/21 are limited by the restrictions imposed by the Corona pandemic due to hygiene measures. On the other hand, many people wonder whether the cold air outside is actually healthy for outdoor activities. However, it is scientifically and practically clear that sport and exercise in the fresh air strengthens the immune system. For anyone who is put off by the temperatures outside, there is also the option of doing sport at home in winter without a gym.

Sports restrictions due to hygiene measures

This year everything is different: Sports facilities and fitness studios have had to remain largely closed for weeks and there seems to be no prospect of indoor training with all the equipment of a studio in the near future. In addition, many people are moving significantly less due to the conditions of home office or short-time work. However, exercise and sport are essential tools to strengthen the immune system and the to maintain cognitive performance . Forgoing exercise during the cold season should therefore not be an option.

It's no secret that many people are finding it much harder to exercise this winter. However, it's important to remember that if you give up completely and use the inability to go to a public sports facility as an excuse not to exercise, you're falling miles behind. There are options and solutions for every challenging situation. First, you can ask yourself which of the solutions suits you best:

Sport in winter – outdoor sports or sweating indoors?

In principle, sport is an important factor for health, whether mental or physical. Outdoor and indoor sports both have their advantages and disadvantages:

Outdoor Sports gives us the opportunity to go running, ride a bike, do sprint training or even train on an outdoor facility with pull-up bars, dip bars or other equipment, even in winter. You can also use your own equipment. Resistant bands, mini loop bands, dumbbells or kettlebells are suitable for this. More ideas will follow in another section. It is important to choose the right clothing and to warm up more carefully and for longer. In the cold season, a hat or headband is particularly useful to keep your ears warm, and a thermal sweatshirt and long sports pants should also be worn. As always when exercising, you should drink enough water. In the fresh air, you are less exposed to potentially infectious aerosols such as those from Covid-19 than in enclosed spaces. Nevertheless, you should ensure that you keep a sufficient distance from other people.

If you find the cold air unpleasant and perhaps also have the space at home to train at home with equipment you have bought yourself, there are many training and exercise variations available: power yoga, body workouts (push-ups, squats, lunges, jumps, jumping jacks, abdominal exercises, etc.), strength training with barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells, stair steps, bands or a pull-up bar are just a few examples of the many options available at home. Fitness from home also has advantages: you save time because you don't have to go to the gym or outdoor facility, and it doesn't matter what you look like. You also have flexibility in terms of time and the session is not dependent on the weather. When you exercise at home in winter, you hardly notice that it is winter.

Ultimately, you don't have to choose one or the other, and it's actually beneficial for your immune system and therefore your health to exercise both indoors and outdoors. How about sprint training in the fresh air once a week, fitness exercises at home three times a week, and daily walks in warm clothing during the cold season?

Stay fit through the winter – mentally and physically

This winter, it is particularly important to maintain or perhaps even build up physical fitness through outdoor sports. As already mentioned, the Corona pandemic means that we move less in everyday life and the situation also poses psychological challenges. Many feel lonely or useless and this is precisely when sport should not be missed. After short, intensive training sessions, happiness hormones are released, the immune system is strengthened and blood sugar is stabilized. This means that you eat less out of cravings or defiance and also burn a few more calories. Sport also gives you routine and support, so that you at least maintain this element for a structured everyday life. Afterwards, you have achieved something and especially after exercise in low temperatures, it is a wonderful feeling for the body, mentally and physically, to jump under a warm shower and enjoy the well-deserved meal with a healthy appetite.

Staying fit in winter so that you can get going in spring and summer makes things a lot easier...

Winter activities – how to train outside:

A good warm-up is a must for outdoor sports: if you want to do strength exercises in low temperatures in winter, you should definitely start with mobility exercises that prepare the muscles for a large range of motion under more intense tension. Controlled, slow lunges where you push your knee far forward with your hands above your head are good. A deep squat, where you place your hands between your legs and alternately stretch one arm far back, prepares the knees, hips, ankles, shoulders and spine for later strain. After a few exercises like this, you can still activate your circulation and nervous system with jumping jacks or rope skipping. Warming up should not be underestimated; if it is not done conscientiously in the cold season, injuries can be provoked.

There are also numerous options for exercising in an outdoor fitness facility in winter. A tried and tested method is to first do general exercises such as pull-ups, dips, push-ups, toes to bar, because these exercises require a lot of nervous system and tire the body more quickly. In the gym, this would also include exercises such as heavy squats, bench presses or deadlifts. However, since there are not enough weights outside for high intensity, they can be used in the higher repetition range in the second part of the workout. For example, you could do four rounds of pull-ups and push-ups, alternating between six and ten repetitions each. A 90-second break between sets makes sense here. This could be followed by a circuit of lunges, squats, an abdominal exercise and plank to push up at a fast pace with twenty repetitions each. There would only be short breaks.

Sports at home in winter instead of outdoor sports?

If you prefer to do your workout at home during the cold season, you have many options for workouts here too. If space is limited and you have little or no equipment available, then short units with quick movements performed against a timer are suitable. For example, four consecutive exercises, each with 30 seconds of work time per exercise, which work the whole body, are a good idea. After this circuit, you can take a break of 45 to 90 seconds, depending on your needs. The block will train four to five rounds. Then the same system follows with a new block of four other exercises. Push-ups, squats, jumping squats, lunges, lateral raises on the stomach, leg raises or mountain climbers can be done here.

If you have dumbbells and bands, you can train more specifically and do isolated exercises. It should be noted that if the weights are not high enough, the training effect will be less and it makes sense to use more global exercises - especially if the goal is to reduce body fat. You hardly lose any fat on your arms if you only do isolated triceps and biceps exercises; the body is too complex for that. Fat - even in smaller areas - is reduced through global exercises, lots of time under tension and fewer rest periods.

Chest training at home, just like shoulder training at home, is best done with push-up variations, dumbbell shoulder presses and the floor press. The triceps are always trained as well. The upper back can be trained at home with bent-over dumbbell rows and lateral raises, but the superman exercise on the stomach and rowing with bands are also suitable. The lower back and hamstrings can be trained with dumbbell Romanian deadlifts or seated good mornings.

Isolated butt exercises at home can be supported by a mini band over the knee. Glute bridges, hip thrusts, hip abductions and squats can be done with it.


Outdoor sports and training in winter are possible even under the current difficult Corona measures. You may need the right clothing and, if necessary, simple equipment such as dumbbells, kettlebells or bands, which can be purchased online. The sessions can take place indoors and outdoors, and ideally you get a little exercise in the fresh air every day, even if it's just a walk.

Since there are numerous possibilities for different training and exercise variations here, just like in the studio, and there is also the risk of incorrect execution when performing the exercise, it always makes sense to get support from a professional coach. Sessions via Zoom or advice and individually tailored training plans are currently also offered online by various training studios. For example, MTM Gym in Berlin offers memberships where you can get coaching for at least four weeks, receive professional training and nutrition plans and receive holistic advice.

Otherwise, here are two home workout videos and a mobility routine from Supz Nutrition available for you:

We wish you successful outdoor training or, for all those who like it: more sport in your own home – even during the lockdown and the cold winter months and of course a healthy New Year 2021!

Ines Schulz
Ines Maria Schulz, born on December 1st, 1992 in Basel, Switzerland, also completed her Master of Education in Biology and WAH there, laying the foundation for understanding physiology and anatomy as well as nutrition. She is also a trained primary school sports teacher. For two years she has been a coach at MTM Personal Training, the most successful personal training studio in Berlin. There she supports customers every day who want to exploit their maximum potential in terms of mental and physical health and performance. In cooperation with doctors such as Dr. Dominik Nischwitz and a laboratory for intestinal health as well as constant exchange within the team, she can give her customers optimal advice on training, nutrition, micronutrients and lifestyle. She has already written a breakfast book and a large part of a lifestyle booklet for MTM. She also writes the weekly newsletter, which publishes nutritional tips and recipes she has created. Ines has completed seminars and certificates with various successful coaches and specialists and is constantly expanding her skills. The young trainer has been writing blog articles for Supz Nutrition since January 2019.

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