With winter approaching, I have been busy gathering winter activity ideas and second-hand outdoor gear for my two growing boys. They basically destroy the house if we stay inside, so getting out in poor weather is necessary for all of our well-being (especially my mental health.)! So far, my list of winter activities includes tobogganing, snow fort building, ice skating, and swimming at the local pool for the days when the weather is especially poor.

I recently took my boys ice skating for the first time at the indoor arena. The pace was slow as they are just learning, but I was still able to do my own physical activity while teaching the kids. It turns out that picking kids up off the ice was a great resistance/strength-building activity. I was also inspired that day by a mom who was learning to skate. I started talking with her and she told me she was new to Canada and wanted to be able to enjoy winter activities with her kids, not just watch from the sidelines. Last summer she learned how to swim and this winter she planned on mastering skating. She had a fantastic attitude, and it just shows what you can accomplish with a little motivation!

Winter can be a great time to learn new activities. Check out what’s available in your community – many places offer rental equipment for cheap and group lessons that can make getting out in the cold a lot more enjoyable. Challenge yourself, meet new people, and make the most of winter. Here are a few outdoor activity ideas:

Cross-country skiing Tubing Quinzee building Nordic walking with poles
Snow shoeing Broom ball Snow shovelling Snowball target practice
Snowman or fort building Snow shovel racing Fat tire biking Visit a winter carnival

 

During that same skating session, I also noticed that there were people walking around the arena concourse, getting their steps in and building leg strength by climbing up and down stairs. Arena walking is a great way to stay active over winter, especially if you’re worried about icy or cold conditions. For all of the hockey moms and dads, why not get your steps in while you watch the youngsters skate? If there’s no arena near you, try mall walking. Go early before the crowds arrive and get your steps in while doing a bit of window shopping. You can also check out your local recreation centre or YMCA for new inside activities, like adult gymnastics or pickle ball.

Walking outside in the great white north can be done all winter long, for the most part, as long as you’re prepared. A previous Carrot blog has covered some of this, but here’s a quick reminder:

Layers are great because they can be removed as you heat up. The layer closest to your body should wick moisture away. Cotton is NOT ideal, as it takes a long time to dry. Follow that with a warm layer and top it with a wind- and water-resistant layer. Cover your head, neck, and hands to stay toasty. If you’re heading outdoors in the dark, wear reflective materials and carry a flashlight so people can see you. Insulated boots with a good grip are key in fall/winter. If it’s slick, you can also add ice grips or cleats to your shoes.

 

Now that we’re thinking winter, what activities are you planning? Let the Carrot community know and share your ideas by commenting below. For other ideas, check out heartandstroke.ca.

Leila Dale

Author Leila Dale

Leila Dale, PhD, is an expert in physical activity behaviour change and mobile health. She continues to conduct research through the School of Kinesiology at UBC and is a consultant for the World Health Organization. Aside from work, she is a mom of two and loves to run around with them outdoors.

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