Season and Weather on Can Affect Physical Activity

Doing calisthenics like pushups and sit ups, and aerobics exercises like jogging in place and knee lifts can be done indoors when the weather is too cold, too hot, or even rainy.

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Weather conditions can strongly promote or deter physical activity (PA) behaviors. When weather is preventing people from participating in physical activity, measures must be taken to overcome this issue. Seasonal sports and activities as well as bring play indoors could be a solution. The need for opportunities for indoor physical activity during the cold and wet months of the year is important.

A growing body of evidence indicates that levels of physical activity are influenced by environmental factors, such as place of residence and accessibility of recreation facilities. A few studies in the scientific literature have considered features of the natural environment, such as access to parks and playgrounds to impact PA. Seasonality and weather conditions have been relatively overlooked as determinants of physical activity. Previous studies, and common logic, shows that amount of daylight hours, extreme temperatures and precipitation levels might influence physical activity behaviors, especially walking outdoors, the most common physical activity undertaken by all populations.

Previous studies conclude that obesity levels among children are highest when measured in autumn and winter (December–March), while a lower prevalence of obesity is present in summer (May– September).

Given that obesity has reached epidemic proportions worldwide, it seems acceptable to acknowledge the effect of season and weather on physical activity. In order to combat obesity in both children and adults, it is necessary for physical activity interventions to be provided in a way that supports activity during all months of the year. The effect of season and weather has been highly overlooked in the creation of physical activity interventions and during the surveillance of levels of physical activity among different populations.

It is clearly important to recognize bad or extreme weather not as a deterrent, but as an opportunity to be creative with physical activity and play. Alternative ways to stay active despite the weather is necessary for health.

Excuse to not be active because of weather

Examples of how to incorporate PA in spite of the weather

Too cold & snowy

Sledding, making snow angels, snow skiing, snow tubing

Too rainy

Walking with an umbrella, play indoors, go to the gym

Too hot & humid

Play in & around water, go inside, limit 10-15 minutes outside

Too windy

Fly a kite, go sailing, play with flags or pinwheels

Too dark & cloudy

Flashlight tag, moonlight walk, go indoors

Too sunny

Play at sunrise & sundown, run around a shade tree, sunglass & a hat/visor


Dietz WM, Gortmaker SL. Factors within the physical environment associated with childhood obesity. Am J Clin Nutr1984;39:319–24.

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Playing a game indoors can be great physical activity. These youth are taking turns using orange number and activity cubes to stay active. The group will do whichever activity is facing up on the cube. The number cube tells you how many times that activity will be done. For example the first toss showed 12 jumping jacks, so the youth did them together.

12/8/2020 7:34:13 PM
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