I did the unthinkable today. I willingly stood on a scale, knowing full well the number would make me squawk. And squawk I did. OK, I had a little fit too. If you’re anything like me, then you *might* just need a little nudge to remove that little extra holiday pudge. Grumble grumble.

It’s no secret that losing weight and getting fit takes effort, and it’s easy to succumb to those flashy advertisements promising you’ll drop those pounds fast just by dropping a few bucks on some product. Don’t believe the hype.

There are endless ways to get fit in the colder winter months without spending a small fortune. Chaya Cooperberg, from the fabulous Home Cents Blog, explores numerous frugal fitness methods in Getting fit on a budget.

If you’re looking for a free download, then burn some winter weight (smirk) by downloading my free eBook The Insider’s Guide To Frugal Food & Fitness! and then grab a copy of the Free Printable Workout Log. If you live in a warmer climate, then a winterized workout isn’t going to get you snow — so check out these 10 Free Ways to get into Fitness this Summer

Now lets get on with some fun ways to get frugally fit by embracing winter! No gym memberships or wallets required!

1. Go Snowshoeing

Go ahead and grab that set of snowshoes from your basement (or borrow them from a neighbor) and go for a stroll in the snow. Snowshoeing is a butt-busting workout that requires strength, agility, balance, and stamina to make it from Point A to Point B. Besides, walking in snow is hard work. I’m breaking into a sweat just thinking about. 🙂

snowshoes winter fitness atlas snowshoes

Yes, you may fall on your arse. Yes, your dog may look at you funny.

snowshoes snowshoeing exercise fitness winter atlas snowshoes

But getting back on your feet and experiencing nature is most certainly a lot more fun than hitting that stair climber at the gym.

snowshoes benefits to exercise fitness dog

If you’re stuck for a pair of snowshoes, then check out your local outdoors shop for an inexpensive rental. Some stores may sell you last year’s model for cheap if you end up loving that levitating on the snow feeling.

2. Build a Snowman

Roll with it and build a snowman, a snow-woman, or a snow-gender-neutral-person in your yard. Smile. Making snow-people is a super fun activity for families so bundle up your bunch and get outside. Don’t forget to garnish Mr. Frosty with a corncob pipe, a button nose, and two eyes made out of coal.

snowman frosty the snowman snowmen
Photo: flickr/lululemonathletica CC-Attribution

OK, what the heck is a corncob pipe? I swear, I spent my youth singing that dang Frosty the Snowman song and I’ve NEVER, ever, decorated my snow-people with corncob pipes. Have you? Anyantismokingblogger, if you’ve got some really nice deep fluffy snow then try building a snow fort, a snow sculpture, or even an igloo for giggles.

3. Play Pickup Hockey

Grab a group of guys (or gals) and head outdoors for a game of hockey. A game of pickup hockey is a great way to chill with friends while getting exercise. Being a Canadian, in Canada, where hockey is a Canuck rite of passage, I’ve found games played on the street, in backyards, and on local outdoor rinks. This game can literally be played anywhere, at anytime, without a lot of equipment. Sure, you’ll need a stick, perhaps a puck or a ball, a pair of boots or skates, and some face protection for the goalie. You don’t need nets though — just grab a couple of garbage cans to mark the goal. Yes, we Canadians can rig a hockey rink out of anything, I suppose. 🙂

4. Walk the Dog, Go for a Hike

If your dog is fat, it’s probably because you need more exercise — so take your mutt outside for a brisk winter walk or a hike. Walking is an ideal, frugal form of exercise since it requires zero sports equipment or athletic skill. And getting in a few paces everyday can add up to a lot of calories burned over the week.

walk exercise benefits to exercise

If you’re looking for a step in the right direction then check out this free 12 Week Beginner Walking Program. Now step to it!

5. Throw a Snowball Fight

Did a fresh snowfall just snow you in for the afternoon? Then get your family and friends outside for a group snowball fight. Nothing gets the heart rate racing like being chased by a group of snow wielding people looking to get ya good! There’s nothing wrong with being hit by a soft fluffy flier, but if the snow is hard-packing, then maybe just build a snowman instead. 🙂

6. Go Skiing

Get bound in a set of bindings and head for the hills for some classic cross-country skiing, skate skiing, or even down-hill skiing. The cost of each of these options depends on how much equipment you already own.

ski areas skiing snow skiing
Photo: flickr/eivinds CC-Attribution

So if you’ve got the gear, then don’t let it go to waste in your garage. Get out and point those skis in the right direction and get fit. If you’re ski gearless (like me), then frugal options can be borrowed, rented, or bought used. Joining a local club is an excellent way to find used gear for less since many members will have upgraded over the years.

7. Slide on a Sled, Tumble on a Toboggan!

You don’t need to be kid to play in the snow. Sliding on a sled or tumbling on a toboggan can offer miles of inexpensive fitness fun on nearby snowy slopes.

toboggan sled

Sure, sliding down the hill is the easy part, but climbing UP is what gets you fit.

sled toboggan snow

Over the years I’ve managed to slide on wooden sleds, plastic toboggans, magic carpets, and flexible flyer sleds. In university, when I was young and stupid, I even managed to fly down a wicked hill on a cafeteria tray (sorry, no photos of my silliness). But yeah, if you can find a flat surface, I bet you can make it slide on the right slope.

wooden toboggan wooden sled

And kids like to slide too, so bring them along.

8. Dig Yourself Out

If you’ve got a driveway or sidewalk covered with snow, then be nice and clear your ice. Shoveling yourself out of the deep is hard physical work, so if you’re not used to heavy lifting then be easy on yourself and take your time.

dog digging snow

When the snow is too dense to dig, then get your family and neighbors to help. Many hands make light work.

9. Ice Skating

There’s nothing like gliding on a pair of skates, feeling the breeze blow in your hair, and then falling flat on your a$$. Been there, done that, and loved every minute of it.

I learned the fine art of ice skating (cough) when I lived in Ottawa, Canada’s Capital. Ottawa is home to the Rideau Canal Skateway, the world’s largest skating rink. I couldn’t have called myself a local without spending hours skating downtown, gliding to school, or stopping by the sidelines for a tasty BeaverTail — U.S. President Barack Obama approved!

But you don’t need a big canal to skate — your local rink may be perfect or an outdoor sheet of ice may be just around the slippery corner.

10. Join a Polar Bear “Swim” Club

There’s a crazy bunch of people who like to dip their dumplings in freezing lakes and waterways. Yes, these people are nuts. Yes, the gentlemen may no longer have nuts. But crazies aside, it’s kind of refreshing to take a dip in freezing waters. I’ve done it once. I’ll never do it again.

swimming swimming fully clothed polar bear swim
Photo: Diana Hodge McGregor

But swimming in frigid waters is a fun way to meet people and get fitter by trying to stay warm. Maybe.

So if you’re feeling the pinch in your jeans and you’re looking for a real way to get winter fit, then brave the cold and get outside with these frugal fitness ways. If you’d rather stay inside, then those Wii fitness games look like fun too.

UPDATE: Everyone keeps asking me about my dog’s booties. They are called Muttluks and have lasted us several seasons on the farm. Here’s a video of the booties in action!

If your pet is suffering with dry cracked paws, a good dollop of Bag Balm on the foot pads and in between the toes is super frugal, healing, and helpful too.

Your Two Cents: Got a fun and frugal way to bust the bulge and get winter fit?