9 active Birmingham winter activities to get you moving without risking your health

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COVID can’t stop winter fun completely—check out how to get moving even during these chilly months. Photo via Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers

Winter may bring cooler weather and shorter days, but don’t write off the season completely. Christina Marxen, a business analyst with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama and a certified exercise instructor, gave us advice for safe Birmingham winter activities to keep us active over these next few months.

When in doubt, move about

We can’t wait to dance alongside our friends at Railroad Park again, but solo dance parties can be fun, too. Photo via Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama

Closing out your workday with the sun saying “sayonara” is a major bummer. The motivation to eat healthier and exercise seems to go out the door as soon as December rolls around.

However, this is one of the most critical months to stay on top of your mental health and fitness regime. It can prove pretty difficult to fight those winter blues with COVID-19 giving us uncertainty as to what winter activities are safe.

On your mark, get set, schedule

Christina has been teaching for twenty years and specializes in TurboKick/PiYo and Zumba. Her advice? Schedule time in your calendar to get moving. It can look like setting an alarm on your phone to remind you or inputting exercise time into your work calendar.

“If you can, schedule time in your day to get up and move. Go up and down your steps, walk around your house or walk around the block. It’s about finding time to move when it’s convenient for you.”

Christina Marxen, Business Analyst and Certified Exercise Instructor, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama

Another way to turn winter frowns upside down? Dance! 💃

“No one is ever in a bad mood when they’re dancing—right? If you dance, you’re happy. So, turn on the music. Whether you’re making dinner or cleaning the house, dancing around definitely improves your health and mental well-being.

Sometimes being silly takes us out of our comfort zone. Put on your favorite music and grab the broom. It’s something where you’re able to be active but it doesn’t really feel like exercise.”

Christina Marxen

Birmingham winter activities we’ll be doing all season to stay active

1. Warm-up on the colder days with online fitness classes

Birmingham winter activities, online classes

The YMCA has a library full of online fitness classes from yoga and pilates to cardio and core. It’s easy to switch up your routine and use what you have at home to get a great workout.

You can also reach out to your favorite local gym or fitness studio and see if they’re offering online options.

“It’s a great time to branch out and do something different that you’ve never done before. You have the peace of being at your house where no one is watching you. Jump in and try something new—you may find something that you really like.”

Christina Marxen

2. Or, opt for an outdoor exercise class

Birmingham winter activities, outdoor classes
Many local gyms are pivoting to offer outdoor options. Photo via Hannah Williams for Bham Now

Even before COVID days, gyms offered outdoor classes to shake up the routine. If you’re not comfortable seeing the inside of a gym just yet, YMCA offers open-air classes. Or, take a look at other options like Ignite Cycle’s rides at the dock.

3. Join in on a no-contact + socially distant friendly sport

Woman biking in front of bright green trees
Birmingham’s trails have tons of room to spread out. Photo via Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers

Disc-golf and Mountain Biking are only a few of the sports you can take part in with others that are still socially-distant friendly. Meeting up with those you feel safe with once or twice a week gives you something to look forward to and is further motivation to workout.

4. Take a stroll through a museum

When the wind chill picks up, seek retreat in one of Birmingham’s museums, like the Birmingham Museum of Art. You can still get plenty of exercise walking around exhibits while staying warm and spreading out from other patrons.

Or, take a tour through Birmingham’s largest living museum—the Botanical Gardens. Their annual poinsettia display provides extra cheer to the season.

5. Put on your hiking boots and tackle one of Birmingham’s trails

Some Birmingham winter activities may include hitting the hiking trails. Local trails are great because they offer everything from beginner courses to more advanced hikes. It’s the perfect place to take things at your own pace and see gorgeous sites.

6. Birmingham winter activities include getting your steps in shopping local

Birmingham winter activities, shopping local
Yes, shopping is cardio, too. Photo via Chaise Sanders for Bham Now

Multi-tasking? We love to see it. Get your holiday shopping done and reach those 10,000 steps when you browse Birmingham’s best local stores.

Hop to it in downtown Homewood or take a stroll through Forest Park. Wherever you land on, it feels great to buy from small businesses, and you’ll be happy to see your wallet isn’t the only one getting a workout.

7. Take your own private Christmas lights tour

Birmingham winter activities, Christmas lights
Highland Park is a favorite neighborhoods to see Christmas displays. Photo via Unsplash

Nothing cheers you up like looking at Christmas lights. Birmingham’s neighborhoods do a fantastic job of giving you beautiful light displays. You’ll be so busy admiring the beauty, it won’t even seem like exercise.

8. Cook and safely deliver a healthy meal to your friends or family

Ashley Mac's Holiday Bundle
It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but delivering a small meal to your loved ones will bring a big mood boost. Photo via Hannah Williams for Bham Now

Eating a balanced diet is particularly important as we head into the holiday season. Between longer days working from home and experiencing Zoom fatigue, it’s easy to grab a less-healthy option by dinner time.

Cooking for friends or family will get you up, moving and motivated. Dance around the kitchen and feel good knowing your hard work is enjoyed by those you love.

9. Start on a home project—we’re thinking a fire pit

Fire pit
Even if it’s not as in-depth as building a fire pit, any kind of home project is an easy way to get moving. Photo via Unsplash

Remember all those home projects we’d said we would complete under quarantine? Now might be the best time to get started—even if it’s as simple as cleaning out a closet or more advanced like building a fire pit for winter nights.

With fewer opportunities to spend outside, home projects are another way to keep active and accomplish goals.

Have more suggestions for Birmingham winter activities? Share them with us on social at @BhamNow on Facebook and Instagram, or @Now_Bham on Twitter.

For more information about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, visit their website. Or, follow them on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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