For many of us, this time of year brings colder weather, and blankets our usual areas of play and exercise with soft white snow. This results in staying inside longer where it’s warmer, and less time outside exercising and staying healthy. (Not to mention all the extra yummy treats around the holidays!)
But why choose to wait for the return of Spring and Summer to get outside again, when Winter brings new options to get out and stay active? Get out and build a snowman, or take the family to the toboggan hills!
Below is a great article by Great West Life’s online Center for Health Information, providing great options for health and wellness during the Winter season. http://gwl.mediresource.com/english/channel_health_features_details.asp?health_feature_id=107&channel_id=1018&relation_id=46013&ID=4159&PolAdminType=N&article_id=305&nl=20111205
Active living for the holidays
Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow? Whether you’re a fan of the white stuff or not, it’ll be hard for many of us to avoid the snow this winter. Rather than hibernating until spring, embrace the fun, festive, seasonal spirit and take part in some winter fitness.
You could gather your family and friends and make winter fitness a group thing. Or you could head out into the snow with only yourself and a playful, adventurous attitude. Either way, find a place for fitness in your holiday schedule. Physical activity can help relieve stress and burn off some of those holiday indulgences. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time, or even be particularly strenuous. Evidence shows that even low-intensity exercise has health benefits.
Keep in mind that while physical activity offers a range of health rewards, everyone should proceed at their own pace. If you have been habitually physically inactive, start slowly and gradually add on daily to the amount of exercise you do. If you have health concerns, speak to your health professional about the level or type of activity that is right for you. For extra information on physical fitness, read “Canada’s Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living” at http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/hp-ps/hl-mvs/pa-ap/index-eng.php.
Try the following activities. Winter has much to offer – get out there and enjoy the season!
Strap on those skates. Whether you’re skating on a rink, a lake, or canal, make the most of the outdoor skating season. It’s part of the Canadian winter landscape! If you do skate on lakes, canals, or other natural bodies of water, remember that ice can be unpredictable and that you should always check with local authorities in advance about the safety of the ice you’d like to skate on.
Hit the slopes. Snowboarding, downhill skiing, tobogganing… slopes of varying grades provide hours of fun. Ski hills offer ski and snowboard lessons for everyone from beginner level onwards, so the whole family can get involved. And an afternoon of tobogganing can get the heart pumping and the laughter roaring. What better way to top off the holidays?
Ski cross-country. Whether you live in an urban or rural setting, Canada has a wealth of nearby parks and trails just waiting to be explored. Before you venture out, familiarize yourself with appropriate safety precautions. Contact your local cross-country ski organization for more details.
Walk in a winter wonderland. Or, better yet, put on the snowshoes. “Snowshoeing in a winter wonderland” doesn’t have the same ring, but it may be just the way to slow down the holiday pace and appreciate the beauty that the season has to offer – and get some good exercise too!
Submitted by Patrick Villegas