by Madeleine Kelly

Winter is tough, especially the Canadian winter. It’s cold, it’s long and it’s snowy. There are certain tasks associated with the Canadian winter that seem really annoying until you consider that they’re exercise and could actually qualify as cross-training. Below are five examples of activities we do in winter that kind of resembles hitting the gym.


Shovelling is most people’s least favourite winter activity, but does it change your attitude a bit if you consider it cross-training? In theory, shovelling a long driveway is multiple strength sessions in one. You work your back, arms, abs and even legs (standing) for hours while moving piles of fluffy white stuff. So if you shovelled the driveway today, congrats, it’s kind of like you hit the gym.

Walking in the snow

If you’re the kind of person who opts out of shovelling, you’re still getting a workout in walking through the snow you’ve neglected to remove. Walking through snow is like running on sand or in water. It makes you really tired because it’s basically resistance training.

Scraping your car

Cyclists are notoriously neglectful of their upper bodies. A good car cleaning can work your lats, biceps and triceps. Some tough ice and snow can double as arm day at the gym.


Shivering burns calories. It’s been proven that being cold burns more calories than being warm. Time Magazine reported in 2018, “As long as you’re not overeating to make up for the extra energy your cold-exposed body is using up, you can expect to lose some weight in response to cold.” We’re not suggesting you freeze yourself, but a cold walk to the subway might burn a couple of extra calories.

Slipping on ice

As long as you just slip and don’t fall, an icy sidewalk is a great way to activate your stabilizers. You’ve seen endurance athletes use sliders before to do strength exercises. Walking on a slippery sidewalk is essentially the same thing.

This story first appeared on Canadian Running Magazine

Report error or omission


Leave a Reply