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Five Ways to Stay Fit in Late Winter

When it comes to winter in Nova Scotia, you never know what you’re going to get – endless snow and ice storms one week, clear skies and sidewalks the next. But one thing is certain: even though you might want to stay home with your storm chips, it’s important to stay active (doing something more fun than shovelling).

Evidence shows that staying active during the winter time isn’t just good for your waistline; it also helps boost your mood through the short days, long nights and bitter temperatures.

Getting outside is especially important – regular exposure to sunshine helps boost your Vitamin D levels, which can help keep seasonal affective disorder at bay.

Here are some ideas to keep you moving this winter – whether you’ve got lots of snow or none at all.

When it seems like the snowbanks can’t get any higher

1. Get your skates on

Is there any activity more Canadian than heading out on a cold winter afternoon for a bit of pond hockey or some outdoor skating? Bundle up, make sure the ice is thick enough, and don’t forget to have a cup of hot chocolate afterward.

2. Hit the trails

Nova Scotia has some of the best hiking trails anywhere – and in the winter, they’re perfect for hiking and snowshoeing. Community centres across the province have snowshoes available to borrow, often for little or no cost. Or head out for a bit of skiing – Ben Eoin in Cape Breton and Ski Martock, near Windsor, offer affordable options for a day, weekend or season of hitting the slopes.

3. Battle for snowball supremacy

If the whole neighbourhood has the day off school after yet another snowstorm, why not organize a massive snowball fight at the local park? With the amount of running, throwing and dodging you’ll do, it’s just like a great game of dodgeball – but in snow pants!

When you can’t actually remember the last time you touched that shovel

1. Head to the playground

You don’t have to wait for summer to head to the park and playground. Bring along some balls or a Frisbee and have some fun. Maybe you can’t play pond hockey – but a game of shinny or ball hockey is a pretty good substitute!

2. Take a stroke – or bowl a strike

Too warm for snow, too muddy to play outdoors…March can be a tricky month. Check out your local recreation centre listings for public swim times, or head to the bowling alley for a few rounds of candlepin.

3. Go geocaching

Geocaching is a hugely popular sport that sends participants on a treasure hunt with just a set of clues, their wits – and GPS coordinates – to guide them. Nova Scotia has a number of geocaching sites around the province.

Whatever you end up doing, know that you’re making the best choice for your health this winter when you head outside for a bit of exercise. And don’t worry – spring is just around the corner!

Your turn: Share your favourite way of staying fit during the winter in the comment section below.

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