Does the thought of winter temperatures make you feel like hibernating and avoiding the outdoors altogether? While winter requires us to take extra precautions, the colder weather actually provides some fun outdoor exercises that will help you stay active and beat the common lethargic nature of the season. With a little creativity and basic equipment, it is easy and inexpensive to stay active all winter long.
Why is it important to get outside in the winter?
It is easy to let the colder temperatures keep us inside but caving into winter weather has negative impacts on your overall health. We recommend fighting against seasonal tendencies to avoid the outdoors to improve your mental and physical health over the winter months. Sunlight boosts our vitamin D levels which have plenty of health benefits including the promotion of calcium absorption and immune functions while also reducing inflammation. Getting outside is also great for fighting winter blues because exercise and sunlight together gets our blood flowing, raises our serotonin levels, and provides our organs with the nutrients and energy to keep us happy and healthy. Check out our previous blog to learn more about how physical exercise can improve your mental health.
Why it is important to stay active in the winter?
Muscles tend to be colder and tighter during the winter as a result of the lower temperatures and lacking motivation to exercise. Our Waterloo Physiotherapists always recommend staying as active as possible so that muscles maintain looseness and strength. Want to learn more about our physiotherapist’s recommendations and tips? Contact us with any questions for our team and let us know how we can help you!
At Absolute Rehab Centre, we see a variety of patients each Winter that seek treatments for their winter injuries and physical conditions. They use the services of our Waterloo Physiotherapists and Waterloo Chiropractors to get their body back in its best form. But before you need restorative action this Winter, get your body prepared for the conditions out there and take the necessary precautions to avoid injuries. Be sure to talk to your doctor or our Waterloo Physiotherapists before starting new activities so they can guide you with advice on staying safe. With any of these, however, it is important to stretch, warm up and keep well-conditioned to prevent muscle tears and strains. Check out our past blog about how to prevent winter injuries before heading out for your daily dose of activity.
Depending on your interests, your level of fitness and physical health you can try some of the following winter activities:
The simplest form of outdoor exercise you can do this winter is going for a walk. Keep it easy by strolling around your neighbourhood, walking your dog, or enjoying the snowy scenery at your local park. Hiking is also a great option for winter as most local trails remain open and offer great views all season long. Click here to learn more about what local Waterloo parks remain open for the winter months and the awesome winter programming they offer! You can even step it up a notch by adding snowshoes for a full body workout. Remember to make some adjustments to your walking habits in the winter to avoid any injuries. Be sure to read our blog about safer winter walking before heading out this season to prevent any injury.
While you’re at your local park, why not try some cross-country skiing? Save on the slope fees by bringing your skis to a nearby trail instead. Cross-country skiing is one of the most effective winter workouts because it engages both your upper and lower body. You can even tailor this activity to your fitness level by taking it slow or setting a time goal to fit in a harder workout. If you want something more fast-paced, downhill skiing is another great option to boost your activity levels in the winter. Not only is this a fun family outing, but the sport also engages your core muscles and improves flexibility.
Sledding is another family-friendly activity to do this winter that is low budget and easy to do. Just grab your sled, tube, or crazy-carpet and find a safe hill to slide down! Not only does sledding activate multiple muscles as you steer yourself downhill, but you also get the added benefit of walking back uphill which enhances your endurance and cardiovascular health.
Ice Skating or Hockey
Whether you prefer a leisurely skate around a rink or a fast-paced pickup hockey game, skating is a fun and quintessential Canadian way to stay active this season. Skating will improve your joint and muscle health as well as your balance and coordination. Click here to locate which Waterloo indoor or outdoor skating rinks are open and closest to you!
Playing in the Snow
If all else fails, there are always plenty of easy and free outdoor activities you can do in your own yard. You can build a snowman or snow fort, have a snowball fight, or make snow angels. We might as well embrace all the snow we have gotten recently and playing in the snow is certainly more entertaining than shoveling it! All of these activities are a fun way to get your body moving and blood flowing without feeling like an actual workout.
Our physiotherapists recommend incorporating some of these outdoor activities into your week to stay motivated and healthy this winter. We hope these tips help you beat the lethargic nature of the season and avoid winter hibernation. Want more tips on staying healthy this winter? Learn more about all of our services to ensure you understand how your body moves in colder weather and how to have a safe outdoor winter experience.