8 Reasons Why You Should Ditch the Gym this Winter

January 11, 2017 | 3 comments

The Expeditioners

It’s a well-known fact that regular exercise greatly benefits your health. And when it’s cold outside, hitting the gym may seem like the most obvious option to kickstart your New Year's Resolution(s). But did you know that up to two-thirds of gym memberships go unused? No matter how good your intentions are, the reality is you may not use your gym membership as much as you’d like. So how can you ensure that you’ll reach your fitness goals in 2017 without losing motivation or breaking the bank?

Behold, our 8 magnificent reasons why getting outside is the best thing you can do for your mind, body, and exercise routine this year.

Getting outside is fun.

Let’s be honest: many of us lack the motivation to go to the gym on a regular basis. Maybe it’s the monotony of taking step after step on the treadmill without actually going anywhere. Or maybe it’s because watching ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’ while spin biking isn’t nearly as fun as keeping up with your friends on skis. Either way, why work out on the struggle bus when you can work out and actually enjoy the struggle?

It’s (generally) free.

There’s no startup fee for getting outside. Unless you count gear and gas money (and après, obviously), more often than not, you’ll feel like you got your money’s worth. Once you’ve invested in some gear and used it once or twice, it’s mostly paid for itself. All in all, it’s a fairly cheap and efficient way to break a sweat.

The opportunities are endless.

Downhill skiing, backcountry skiing, cross-country skiing, skate skiing, heli-skiing, tele skiing, snowboarding, split boarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, fat biking, sled dog riding, snowman building… the list goes on. Having a wide variety of activities to choose from in the snow means you’ll never get bored of the same routine.

If you live in an area that’s warm year-round, you have even more incentive to get outside and enjoy nature. There are a plethora of opportunities for outdoor exercise no matter what climate you’re in during the winter months (yes, a plethora). Take advantage of them!

You’ll work out muscles you never knew you had.

Anyone who has ever tried skate skiing for the first time remembers how their legs felt afterward--no matter how good of shape you thought you were in. At the gym, your exercise is done when you decide to press stop on the elliptical, or when your workout class is over. But outside, your exercise ends only after you make your way back to your car from deep out in the forest. Not only will you be working out new muscles, but you’ll be burning extra calories without even realizing it.

You can bring your dog.

Dogs = Happiness. Dogs + Exercise = Even More Happiness! It’s a no-brainer.

It’s a great bonding activity.

An outdoor adventure is much more fun to share with a friend or group of friends than a gym date. When you’re outside, there’s less reason to close yourself off from the world behind your headphones, and no concern over whether you’re using the equipment the right way. As long as you’re being safe, nature doesn’t care if you’re doing it wrong or how attractive you look sweating through your layers only a quarter of the way up the hill on skins. Plus, fresh air and adventure have a magical way of bringing people together that a gym doesn’t.

The right gear can work wonders.

While it requires a tad bit more planning than your typical gym attire, getting dressed for the outdoors doesn’t have to be hard. The right gear can make a world of a difference when it comes to comfort, warmth, and style in the elements. The TrailHeads ponytail headband in our November collection and the Goal Zero lantern in our winter Obsidian collection make for perfect companions on chilly winter days with little daylight.

Outside looks better on your Instagram feed.

Pictures of mountains > Selfies at the gym.

What’s your favorite way to get your exercise in the outdoors? Share it with us in the comments!

3 Responses


February 15, 2017

I am writing an E-book about at-home workouts specifically to ‘ditch the gym’. I hate the gym. I love the outdoors as well. Do you mind if I put a link to this blog in my ebook?

Uncle Tom
Uncle Tom

January 18, 2017

Thanks for laying this out. I was a gym rat for decades until 2013. I had just returned from thru hiking the Continental Divide Trail, where I was outside for 5 months straight, in all sorts of weather and such. I was no longer comfortable wasting gas and time driving an hour to share stale air in an untrahumid cavern where I was often talking more than walking or lifting. Since then, I have been aided by Strava and Fitbit, and am averaging 90 mins a day of moderate to more outdoor activities, mostly within 100 feet of my home. I logged over 1.000 miles on my bikes and another 1,2000 miles on foot. My goal for 2017 is 2017 cumulative human powered miles. Plus I have stayed under 200 pounds since then and my biometric numbers are more favorable than ever.

Shannon P.
Shannon P.

January 11, 2017

Snowshoeing is my favorite outdoor activity in the winter – it’s hiking, in the snow! It burns a ton of calories, you get to see nature in all it’s snowy glory AND it’s virtually free after you get geared up. Unlike skiing, you don’t have to go to a resort if you don’t want to, although most have some great trails for cross country skiing/snowshoeing. California has sno-parks and you can just wander through the forest for miles.

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