Winter weather can be a challenge when it comes to staying active. Cold winds, low temperatures and less sunlight may not seem like the ideal weather conditions for outdoors activities, but in fact there are many opportunities and rewards that are exclusive to winter!
As long as you’re bundled up in layers, have a cup of tea or hot chocolate waiting to warm you up, and you’re protected with appropriate helmets and other safety gear, there’s no reason not to enjoy the awesomeness the colder months have to offer.
Here are five great activities to keep you fit this winter:
1. Take advantage of the Oval
Free outdoor skating is your ticket to fun and fitness this winter! Located on the Halifax North Common, the Emera Oval is a great option for skaters of all skill levels. Learn to skate sessions and skates and helmet rentals are free for everyone and public skate times are open every day (check their online schedule for more details!). Stay safe while skating to avoid head and brain injuries with CSA approved multi-impact helmets that are both required to skate and doctor recommended.
You can set your own pace from an outer-lane leisurely glide to a swift inner-lane speed skate. Families, couples, big groups and single skaters are all welcome to join the fun. Free events include radio skates with open air music and night skates. Hot refreshments are available next to the rink.
This winter, take advantage of public skating at your own pace and fitness level at the Oval!
2. Snowshoe, hike or cross-country ski
A hike in the snow is a great way to take in the stunning Nova Scotia scenery and stay active at the same time. Whether you hike on foot, on snowshoes, or on skies, exploring guided trails is a great weekend adventure. What might seem like just a walk in the snow can be quite the workout, depending on the level of terrain difficulty and speed of the hiker.
Snowshoeing is the fastest growing winter sport in the world and it’s easy to see why; inexpensive, fantastic views, and easy to learn. Tours are available all over the province from the Annapolis Valley to the Cabot Trail. Keep safe with warm layers and appropriate safety equipment, and check the weather before going out.
Great places to cross-country ski include: Walking trails in HRM parks, former railway lines and Martock. Rent a pair of skies and safety gear (shoes, padding, poles and CSA approved multi-impact helmets) and have fun zooming over the snow!
There are lots of great trails and parks to explore in Nova Scotia this winter. Find the full list of places to loan, rent, and buy snowshoes from Hike Nova Scotia here.
3. Get some friends together and go curling
Did you know there are more than 30 curling clubs in Nova Scotia? Go with a group of friends or join as a member to try one Canada’s best known sports. Curling is a great group activity that involves exercise, competition, and plenty of fun. All ages and all abilities can play!
4. Eat seasonal and local healthy food
Eating seasonal and local food can guarantee the freshest ingredients this winter! Many grocery stores and markets have local fruits and vegetables, even in the middle of winter. The Seaport Market is open year round and with plenty of local seasonal producers.
Fruits and vegetables such as apples, cabbage, carrots, cranberries, leeks, onions, parsnips, potatoes, rutabagas and squash are all fresh, delicious and available locally in-season. Winter meals like savoury chicken pot pie can turn a blah mid-winter meal into a hearty, healthy supper.
Starting or continuing to eat in-season during the winter months can help balance your energy levels and keep you on track for a healthy lifestyle. While outdoors activities are a great way of burning calories and taking in the crisp winter air, it’s just as important to have good fuel to keep you going in the cold!
5. If you can’t brave the cold…
Sometimes, it’s just too cold. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the number on the thermostat, try some indoor activities like laps in the local pool, recreation centre programs or a gym membership to fend off the lethargy.
Make your transportation the outdoors activity of the day by walking, biking, jogging or running when you would usually use your car or the bus. Once the temperature climbs back up, you can put your skates, snowshoes, or skis right back on!
Leave a comment and share with us some of your tips for staying active this winter.