Staying Active During a Minnesota Winter 

During the summer, it’s easy to throw on a backpack and go for a jog. However, cold midwest weather actually opens up a number of outdoor activities that you can only do when there’s snowfall. From snowshoeing to fat biking, there are plenty of ways to stay active even during a Minnesota winter. Plus, if you’ve had your fill of snow adventures, you can always head to one of the many indoor fitness classes in the Metro area. 


Snowshoeing in a fun low-impact outdoor activity for all ages and all fitness levels. It’s so accessible, it’s basically just hiking, but in the snow. You can snowshoe anywhere in Minnesota’s state parks and recreation areas and if you don’t have your own gear, there are dozens of state parks that offer snowshoe rentals for only $6 a day. This is a great low-stakes activity that allows you to get outside and see the wonder of the Minnesota snow while leisurely burning a few calories. It’s probably a good idea to check the Minnesota park finder before you head out as it will direct you to the nearest state park with warming centers and other winter amenities. 

Ice Skating

Ice skating is a wonderful treat that you can only take advantage of in the winter. Yes, there are year-round refrigerated rinks for figure skating or hockey practice, but there’s nothing as magical as an outdoor rink. Most non-refrigerated rinks, as they are referred to, are open from December through February. It’s a great activity to do with the whole family or you can join an adult hockey or broomball league on your own! If you really want to soak up the Midwest culture, spend some time on a nearby pond skating – just make sure to be safe!

Fat Biking

A fat bike is a bicycle with large, wide low-pressure tires that has been specifically designed to travel through snowy terrain. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources lists several state parks that have been specifically groomed for fat bike riding as you should definitely avoid fat biking through groomed snowmobile and ski trails. Fort Snelling State Parks near the metro area is a popular spot with six miles of trails.  

Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-country skiing is the real-life version of powering through a stationary Nordic trainer at the gym. Unlike Alpine skiing where the ski lift and gravity do all the work, cross-country skiers use their own bodies to move their skis through the snow. Not only is it a great workout, but many prefer cross-country skiing to the crowded slopes and find that it’s more relaxing and a bit meditative to be alone with nature. There are dozens of Minnesota state parks with miles of groomed cross-country ski areas and some parks even offer $10 a day ski rentals including the boots and poles.  There are also tons of organized events like the candlelight ski sessions that locals rave about.

Creative Indoor Outlets

If you want to take an hour off and spend some time away from your winter coat, there are many other options outside of a traditional gym. While mall walking the Mall of America is always an option, there are hundreds of indoor fitness classes available that make for creative and fun workout!

From Zumba to CrossFit, you’re guaranteed to find the fitness class that suits your groove. For example, an indoor Spinning class at The Firm in Minneapolis is a great way to get some cardio in without stepping foot outside. All while being a part of a spunky, community that is excited about bettering themselves. Or The Aviary, an aerial fitness and bungee class that is focused on building strength and flexibility by flying through the air from a bungee or an aerial hammock. while either are a nice respite from the cold. Take the time to schedule some trial rounds at a few fitness classes to find what you love most. After all, the options are endless! You may want to spend one month boxing and the next in hot yoga.

Regardless of your activity of choice, Minnesota has something for everyone. Whatever the weather man or woman reports, there’s always an outlet to turn to for those that love to stay active.

Article written by Haley Kieser