Winter deserves better. That’s right; we are looking past the slippery roads, snow shoveling, cold hands, and gray skies and focusing on the positives. We think that you should view the colder months as an opportunity, not a rut. For instance, colder temperatures and inches of snow sets the scene for new activities. And there’s no reason to pause your exercise goals when the air gets nippy. For this reason, we’ve compiled a list of winter exercise ideas in Ann Arbor. Grab those gloves, and let’s work up a sweat! 

“To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake it is necessary to stand out in the cold.” – Aristotle

If you dress correctly, do some arm circles to warm up; exercising in the winter isn’t so bad! Also, getting outside this time of year will expose you to some much-needed sun, which might even help with seasonal affective disorder. 

winter activities ann arbor

Don’t forget to play in the snow with your dog!


Okay, let’s get to our chilly list of winter exercise activities in Ann Arbor. 

Ride the Border to Border Trail 

Not every day in the winter is snow-covered, which makes bike riding very doable. Thankfully, Ann Arbor is a biker’s dream, with many paved trails (over 79 miles of bike lanes). One of our favorites is the Border to Border Trail.  Ride along 35-miles of the Huron River Greenway, which connects Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Dexter. Enjoy beautiful views your entire trip! 

If there is snow on the ground, you can always invest in massive snow tires for your bike.

Cross-Country Ski at Rolling Hills

A much safer alternative to alpine skiing, cross-country skiing is an approachable and fun activity. Oh, and it’s a great workout. We suggest renting some skis and heading out to Rolling Hills Park in Ypsilanti. The park offers three miles of trails that they explicitly groomed for cross-country skiing. Further, there are options for beginners and more experienced folk. 

Many physiologists agree that cross-country skiing is the best cardiovascular exercise you can do. Also, it’s a low impact sport, so your joints will thank you. 

Take a Jog at Bird Hills 

“What a maniac!” Most people say this is when they look out their frost-bitten windows and see someone running in the snow. But running in the winter can be as rewarding as running in the summer if you have the proper equipment. Moreover, jogging in colder temperatures can be less stressful on your body and might burn fat faster. 

If it’s not too icy, we suggest taking a lope at Bird Hills Nature Area. With over 160-acres, Bird Hills offers runners many miles of trails to explore. Keep on the lookout for birds such as cardinals, red-bellied woodpeckers, and blue jays as they navigate among the hemlock and birch trees. 

Make sure your running shoes have enough tread to grip the snowy ground. We don’t want any accidents! 

Go Snowshoeing at Hudson Mills Metropark 

Snowshoeing is a serious workout. According to The University of Vermont, you can burn “420-1,000 calories per hour” when participating in snowshoeing. And while many think you need to take a road trip to Northern Michigan to experience it, there are several snowshoeing hotspots, or should we say “coldspots,” right here in Ann Arbor. 

We suggest taking your snowshoes to Hudson Mills Metropark. Keep in mind that you will need snow, as various experts suggest four inches to be the minimum for proper snowshoeing. 

Also, we should mention that you shouldn’t snowshoe on designated cross-country skiing paths. In other words, don’t upset the skiers.

Take a walk around campus. 

There are few sites in Ann Arbor as quaint as the Law Quad after gentle snowfall. Seriously, it looks straight out of a movie. No matter how you feel about winter, there’s something magical about buildings and trees covered in undisturbed snow. University of Michigan’s campus is replete with grand architecture, and the winter, especially without hundreds of students strolling busily around, is the perfect time to appreciate it. Further, you’ll get so caught up in the beautiful snow-covered buildings that you won’t even realize you’ve walked your 10,000 steps for the day.

To reap the most health benefits, many experts suggest walking a minimum of 30 minutes a day. Doing so may reduce your risk of heart disease, improve balance, and increased muscle strength. 

If you’re interested in more of a nature walk, read our list of the best nature hikes near Ypsilanti. 

“Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart.” – Victor Hugo 

Don’t let the cold weather freeze your motivation to exercise. You should embrace the unique activities of each season and make the most of it. Moreover, think about how nice it will be in the spring when you don’t have to spend most of it getting back into shape. So what are you waiting for? Get out there, winter warriors, and make the most of our winter exercise ideas in Ann Arbor

Are you thinking about moving to the area? View our McKinley Ann Arbor apartments.