Indoor Physical Activity Options During the Winter Months for Individuals With Chronic Pain


While it is often refreshing to enjoy outdoor physical activities during the winter months, sometimes the weather conditions or pain levels do not allow for it. If the temperature is too cold to go for a walk or if the roads are too snowy to safely drive to a gym, indoor physical activities can be done in the comfort and safety of home.

Here are some examples of physical activities that can be done inside the home during the winter months:

  • Indoor walking — If walking outside is not possible, indoor walking is always an option. Steps can quickly add up just by walking around the house. Walking during television commercial breaks or while talking on the phone helps maintain physical health. Looking for different ways to step things up? Check out some aerobic videos on PainScale.
  • Dancing — Dancing can be done anywhere with little-to-no equipment. Turning on some music and dancing to the beat promotes cardiovascular health and releases feel-good endorphins.
  • Chores — Cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry are all examples of chores that double as physical activities. Chores are an excellent way to get some physical activity while checking off items from a to-do list.
  • Stretching — Stretching, yoga, and tai chi are great ways to improve flexibility. If traditional yoga is not possible, chair yoga is an option. In addition to physical benefits, these activities promote relaxation and stress relief. Check out PainScale’s yoga and stretching videos.
  • Strength training — No weights? No problem. Two full water bottles or cans of soup can be used for some seated dumbbell curls or shoulder presses. Body-weight exercises like seated single-leg lifts are also beneficial. Strength training promotes bone health while protecting and strengthening the joints. Check out PainScale’s strengthening exercise video.
  • Exercise videos — When in-person physical activity classes are not an option, classes offered through video streaming services or free video-sharing websites are good alternatives. Local libraries may offer DVDs of recorded classes. For individuals with arthritis, back pain, or other types of chronic pain, chair-based exercise videos are a good option.

Although getting physical activity during the winter months can be a challenge, it is essential for physical and mental well-being and can be done from the comfort and safety of home. It’s important to note that a health care professional should always be consulted before beginning any new physical activity.