Why exercise in a gym during the winter, when you can dress warmly and play outside. Cross country skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, winter hiking, snowkiting and other outdoor adventures will give you plenty of exercise.
Photo by Predrag Vuckovic/Red Bull
Don't want to leave your urban environment? No problem. Take up parkour or free running. If you can picture yourself jumping over fences, running on a wall, doing a cat leap then jumping down and rolling to right yourself, these urban adventures may be for you.
Courtesy Larry Pierce
You need to stay in the moment when skiing or snowboarding down extreme slopes, always ready to move your body quickly to stay in a good line. Here's a list of resorts that have some terrific extreme terrain, plus tips from locals on the best ways to tackle these slopes.
Picture yourself in a kite hooked to a harness lets you ski or snowboard fresh backcountry powder for hours. You are skimming atop virgin powder snow in an open meadow, on a frozen lake or sliding down a mountainside
Put on a pair of boots appropriate for walking in the snow and head for a local walking trail. Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has a free Web site that describes hundreds of trails around the country.
(c) L Friedland
Cross country skiing and snowshoeing both offer incredible aerobic exercise and it doesn't take a lot of training to enjoy either sport. All of the winter resorts in North America have a Nordic center, where you can rent cross country equipment and use the trails. January 8 is Winter Trails Day, when many Nordic center offer deals to get you on cross country skis or snowshoes. Even if you can't get out that day, the site offers links to many Nordic centers.
(c) Tim Shisler
All along the spine of the Rocky Mountains and westward you'll find avid ice climbers dangling from ropes on the icy sides of canyons and sheer cliffs. You can get ice climbing instruction in the world's first ice park in Ouray, and in the park oriented toward beginners in the Teton Ice Park.
While sitting in the back of a dog sled doesn't take much energy, mushing the huskies and steering the sled does. Here are several places around North America where you can go dog sledding.
Here's some sound advice on how to play and exercise outdoors in the winter safely offered by the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research