Cold Weather Sports & Your Family

girl hugging small boy in the snowAs the days get shorter and the weather gets cooler, it’s tempting to want to curl up indoors.  But it’s important for your health to keep active all year long.  National guidelines recommend that you should be physically active at a moderate level of intensity for at least 150 minutes a week to stay healthy.    

Benefits

Staying active in the winter helps keep you from getting sick.  Physical activity:

  • boosts the immune system, making it easier to fight colds and the flu; and 
  • helps fight the winter blues, including Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – a form of depression caused by lack of sunlight during the shorter winter days.

Try something new and enjoy the season

Winter offers a wide range of fun activities that aren’t possible in any other season.    Here are some free and low-cost ideas to get you enjoying the great outdoors:

Make it social:

  • join a walking group or organize one yourself with your friends and/or family and explore some of Ontario’s nature trails
  • grab your toboggans (and helmets for safety) and walk to the nearest sledding hill 
  • play tag in the snow, build a snowman or igloo or make snow angels with your friends and family
  • if you have a driveway, use it to play road hockey with your friends and neighbour
  • take a brisk walk after dinner three or four times a week and bring your dog, if you have one 
  • many parks offer free skating – you can rent skates for just a few dollars if you don’t own a pair
  • rent a pair of cross-country skis and hit the trails or ski around the local soccer or football field
  • do a good deed and shovel a senior citizen’s walkway
  • check out the winter festivals happening in your area
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    Too cold outside?

    There are many ways to be physically active indoors: 

    Local community centres

    • go for a swim - they may even have a heated pool
    • sign up for yoga, tennis, squash, dance or other fitness classes at your local community centre
    • winter is a good time to practice summer sport skills like tennis and golf 

    Local library

    • borrow an exercise video from your local library and exercise at home – choose  something you enjoy doing

    Indoor rinks

    • spend the afternoon at a roller-skating rink or bowling alley

    Malls

    • head to the mall to walk a few laps and remember to bring a bottle of water

    Play indoor games with the family

    • have a dance party in your living room and groove to your favourite music
    • play active games, like ping pong or Simon Says.

    No matter what the weather, there are plenty of ways to get your body moving.  
    You’ll do your body good and will feel fantastic.


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