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Snow Day Workout: 20 Minutes of Beginner-Friendly Exercises You Can Do at Home

woman doing a push up on a yoga mat
This no-equipment workout is perfect if you're cooped up at home and unable to make it to the gym. Check it out!

by Mary Lambkin

There's nothing like a cold winter day to make you want to work up a sweat, right? While this is a fantastic feeling to have, crazy weather can obviously get in the way of a trip to the gym.

Fortunately, instead of letting the snow freeze your fitness plans, you can complete a snow day workout from the comfort of your own home! And when you're done, you can head outside for some snowman building, snowball fighting, and snow-angel making. These fun snow day activities definitely count as exercise.

Looking to get your heart rate up and keep yourself on track with your fitness goals? Try this 20-minute snow day workout.

5-Minute Warm-Up

Start your workout by making sure you have everything set up for your at-home sweat session. You'll want to grab a mat or blanket, a sturdy chair, light weights and a jump rope (if you have them), as well as a bottle of water. For added inspiration, you can blast your favorite playlist and invite a workout buddy neighbor to join you!

  • Jog in place. Find your workout groove and get your blood flowing by simply jogging in place for one minute.
  • High knees. Add some intensity to your warm-up by lifting your knees higher as you jog in place for another minute. Try tapping your knees with your palms as you lift them, if you're able.
  • Butt kicks. Reverse the high-knee movement and fire up your hamstrings with a minute of butt kicks (while continuing to jog in place). Emphasize the bend in your knees, trying to kick your butt with your heels during each step.
  • Walk-outs. Stretch and warm up the rest of your body with a set of walk-outs for one minute. Keep your abs engaged as you lower yourself into a plank position and then walk your hands back toward your feet to return to a standing pose. For an added challenge, you can do a pushup at the end of each walkout. To make the movement easier, try dropping to your knees while in the plank pose.
  • Recover. Spend a minute drinking some water and preparing yourself for the next 15 minutes of your snow day workout!

5-Minute Cardio Blast

You can build strength and endurance by performing these simple bodyweight exercises for a minute each. If you have dumbbells or light weights at home, feel free to incorporate them into the movements for added intensity.

  • Alternating lunges Lunge forward with one leg and then switch to the other. For an added challenge, try jumping between lunges.
  • Jumping jacks. Stay light on your feet and try to clap your hands together (with straight arms) in this simple yet effective cardio movement.
  • Burpees. Embrace the burn with this full-body exercise. Lower yourself into a plank position before returning to a standing pose, jumping with each transition if you can. Feel free to take a quick break at the 30-second mark.
  • Climb stairs (or do more high knees). If you have stairs in your home, you can make them part of your workout! Run up and down them for 60 seconds. If you don't have stairs, repeat the high-knee movement to work the same muscles.
  • Jump in place (or jump rope). Jump rope or jump in place, trying to stay on the balls of your feet. If you need to take a break, try jogging in place instead of standing still.

5-Minute Strength Blast

As you take a few seconds to recover from the cardio blast, prepare yourself for the last intense portion of the workout. Perform the following exercises for one minute each.

  • Wall sit. This move can help you generate a nice burn in your upper legs. A simple wall sit is an effective exercise that anyone can do at home!
  • Pushups. Build up your chest muscles with this classic movement. Drop to your knees if you need to lower the intensity, or add a jumping clap if you want to ramp things up.
  • Sit-ups. Work your core and burn off those holiday treats! A minute of sit-ups will challenge your abs and lower back.
  • Squats. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and try not to hunch your back as you complete a minute of squats. Add a jump between each rep (or grab some weights) to increase up the intensity.
  • Plank. Finish off your workout with a stationary plank. Feel free to take a break at the 30-second mark; if you find yourself starting to wobble, remember that you're only a few minutes away from enjoying the rest of your snow day!

5-Minute Cool-Down

Stretch and recover from your workout with four simple stretches that you can complete on a mat or soft surface. Don't skip out on this section — you deserve it! Try to devote one full minute to each step.

  • Deep breathing. It helps to take a few big breaths as you conclude your workout. To begin this last portion, concentrate on inhaling deeply for 60 seconds. This helps cool your body down. 
  • Runner's stretch. Release tension in your legs and keep your hips open with this classic stretch. Switch sides after 30 seconds.
  • Cross-body arm stretch. Keep your arm straight as you extend it across your chest, holding it in place with your other arm. Switch sides after 30 seconds.
  • Lying hamstring stretch. After all of those wall sits, lunges, and sit-ups, your legs need a break! Stretch out your hamstrings by lying down, lifting one leg straight up, and then pointing and releasing your toes. Switch sides after 30 seconds. Feel free to take your shoes off and let your feet breathe!
  • Spinal twist. You can relieve tight back and hip muscles with this seated stretch. Extend one leg straight in front of you and then bend and cross the other leg over it. Place your opposite elbow over your knee so that your chest faces the inner thigh of your bent leg, and switch sides after 30 seconds.

You did it! Now, cozy up on the couch with a hot cup of cocoa or head outside for some more snow day fun! You earned it. As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.