Winter is a beautiful time of year. Snow. Cold. Ice. In Canada, everyone seems to be driven indoors to avoid the weather for their exercise. But what about grabbing life by the horns? Can we as Canadians get more out of winter, like those in the sunny south? Let’s do it!
How far away are you from your gym? Can you walk? It’s a great way to warm up and cool down. Sunshine and fresh air might cheer you up as you head over to see your trainer… Getting to the gym can be a great release in the winter weather. You’ll warm up, get your blood moving, and it seriously helps those winter blues.
If you normally walk outside, maybe snowshoeing or cross-country skiing is an option? There are many trails in York Region that are close to home that you might not know about. Snowshoeing and skiing gets your joints moving and your heart rate pumping. You’ll get warm, trust me. You will have to work a bit harder in the snow which allows for a better workout. And of course, being in the forest amid the snow can be quite magical. Good for the muscles and good for the soul.
Join a new class this winter. Even if it’s an indoor class, let your inner, wild self explore something new. Shake up the winter blahs with some spice in the gym or with a new sport league. Try things like yoga, group training, soccer, or even curling! You don’t have to commit to it like our Olympians… just give it a try! Grabbing some friends or family members can help build relationships. What’s better? Sitting for a coffee or enjoying a yoga class together?
Downhill skiing is an old favourite. There are many hills around that are great for a quick workout. Stay local and go for an hour or so… but doing this often adds to your fitness level. You don’t have to make it a full day event or travel three hours to get there. A few quick runs might be all you need on a Sunday afternoon.
Running outside can be done as well. Dress in layers and run where you feel safe. You can buy grips for the bottom of your shoes that make you less likely to slip. They are inexpensive and easy to use. Winter running shoes exist as well. They are water-proof so you can run and walk outside in comfort. How about that? Running in the winter is actually a lot easier than in 30 degree humidity. The air has more oxygen and easier to breathe. Plus you can get a jump start on training for the Mount Albert Sports Day 5k!
My last piece of advice is to keep the momentum up. Push through the cold and just keep exercising. When the spring weather comes you’ll feel like you’re on fire! You’ll meet those New Year’s goals instead waking up from a winter slumber. Cheers to you and your exercising-in-the-winter ways!
By Jen Mark. Jen is a Registered Kinesiologist and Athletic Therapist at Body Design. Body Design offers Personal Training, Athletic Therapy & Yoga to assist individuals achieve their fitness and weight loss goals. Visit www.bodydesign.ca