If you love to exercise outside when the weather’s warm, the arrival winter doesn’t mean you have to put your fitness regimen into storage. There are many benefits to being active outside in winter, and there’s more to outdoor exercise than downhill skiing and skating. Here are some fun cold-weather fitness ideas to try this winter.
It’s definitely not for beginners and you need to make sure you have the right gear for the season (think cold-weather surf wax and neoprene hoods, boots and gloves), but if you’re up for it, you’re bound to catch some great waves. Nova Scotia is known for some fantastic winter surfing spots, and year-round surf conditions can be found online.
Again, careful preparation and the right equipment are the keys to a safe and successful outing – but don’t let that intimidate you. Dress appropriately for the season and activity (layers, layers, layers), plan your routes to avoid congested roads or travel times, and take extra good care of your bike.
Take a step beyond those half-scraped sidewalks and ask your local parks and recreation department about winter-friendly trails in municipal parks. The Halifax Regional Municipality, for example, lists online details about all of its municipal trails, including availability of washrooms, cellphone service and benches. Consider too the beauty of a winter beach walk. If you’ve got a dog, you’ve got a walking buddy. Get your big muscles working as you both trudge through a field full of fresh powder after (or even during) a big snowfall.
If you’d rather walk on the snow than through it, give snowshoeing a try. Snowshoeing has a long history in Canada. It has been a vital part of Aboriginal life for millennia and was quickly embraced by many early European visitors. Its popularity has been growing in recent years, according to Hike Nova Scotia. If you’ve never tried snowshoeing, Hike Nova Scotia has prepared a handy snowshoeing resource about the types of snowshoes and techniques you can try. As well, the organization has compiled a list of where to borrow, rent or buy snowshoes across Nova Scotia. Bonus: It’s ideal as either a solo activity or an outing for the whole family or group of friends.
Build a Snow fort
This winter tradition isn’t just for kids. Moving heavy snow around can be a great workout. Get fancy and add turrets, coloured walls and other details to your fort. Impress the neighbourhood kids by learning how to make snow blocks to build an igloo in your yard.
Be a Snow Angel
This doesn’t refer to making pretty designs in the snow with your arms and legs (though that can be fun). Instead, why not consider shoveling the neighbour’s walkway after you’ve cleared your own? While shoveling snow isn’t at the top of everyone’s list for “fun,” this simple act of kindness will do your heart good in more ways than one.
What’s your favourite winter workout? Share your recommendations for ways to keep fit when the snow flies in the comment section.