The cold weather months are here, which often keeps many of us indoors. Add in the pandemic preventing us from going to the gym or fitness facility and we’ve got ourselves a lot of inactivity! But just because the temperature is beginning to drop, that doesn’t mean the outdoor fun and activity has to stop. With a number of COVID-19 restrictions in effect, finding safe ways to enjoy the outdoors is becoming more important than ever. Here are a few suggestions on how to get some safe exercise in the cold with the whole family this winter.
Outdoor Winter Sports
Sports are a great way to have fun and get in a winter workout. These are just a few that you can try this season.
- Ice Skating: No matter what your skill level, a local community rink is a great place to get in some skating with the whole family!
- Cross Country Skiing: This is an fun workout and something the whole family can do together. It’s also an opportunity to explore the great outdoors and trails that are close to home.
- Snowshoeing: This is really easy to learn and also an awesome workout. Just try not to sink in the snow!
- Ice Fishing: Not only is this an activity you can do on your own or with your family, but it’s a big stress reliever. You get to spend time sitting in nature and can catch a great lunch while you’re at it. Remember to check safety guidelines in your local area before you go.
Outdoor Winter Activities
With social distancing measures, families are looking for ways to have fun in their back yard or neighbourhood. Luckily, snow turns the outdoors into a winter playground. Here are a few ways to have fun outside this winter:
- Sledding: Find a hill that’s safe to sled and let loose! If you have really little ones, find a sled you can pull around the neighbourhood instead of going down a hill.
- Snow Forts: These are fun no matter what age you are. Just grab some pots and pans from the kitchen to use as molds for building your fort. Have a large yard? Why not make a village out of it with these great tips – they make great hideouts!
- Build a Snowman: A classic winter activity that never goes out of style. You can even get different kits to help you out.
- Walking or hiking: Taking walks or hiking is a great way to spend time with the family. Check out some trails you’ve done in the summer months and see what they look like in the winter. You can also do a tour of local neighbourhoods with impressive light displays! Remember to check trail reports before you go.
Staying Safe Outdoors
Winter activities are fun for the family, but can be dangerous if you aren’t prepared. Here are a few tips on how to stay safe outside this season.
Check Weather Conditions
Before heading out make sure you check your local weather forecast. Don’t just check the temperature, but also the wind chill and moisture. If you add in those factors a temperature of – 20 can feel like – 30 and increase your risk of frostbite or hypothermia.
Know the Signs of Frostbite and Hypothermia
It’s normal to feel a bit chilly when out in the cold, but the colder it gets, the greater the risks of frostbite or hypothermia become. Here are some signs to be on the lookout for:
- Loss of feeling in the extremity
- A stinging sensation
- Hard or waxy-looking skin
- Slurred Speech
- Clumsiness and Drowsiness
- Bright red or cold skin
- Weak pulse
If you see any of these signs, head inside right away to slowly warm up.
You need to make sure you’re dressed properly so that you can spend time comfortably outside. The first thing is to make sure those extremities are covered because they’re most likely to get frostbite. That means a good pair of gloves, socks, boots, earmuffs with a toque and scarf.
Don’t forget those layers! When you’re physically active outside whether it’s cold or hot, you’re going to sweat. That sweat can make you chilled and draws heat away from your body. You can remove those sweaty layers to prevent that from happening if you have lots of layers.
If you haven’t always been someone who enjoys activities outdoors, this year is the perfect opportunity to try something new. As long as you dress properly, make sure you’re following COVID safety protocols and have a good attitude – you’ll be enjoying a lot of time outdoors this season!