Activities to Take the Chill Out of Winter
There is no point complaining about winter, but there are many reasons to get out and enjoy it. Winters in Canada are incredibly beautiful – and they can be fun too. The following activities are perfectly suited for a Canadian winter and are definitely worth doing – even if you’ve never tried them before.
Snowboarding: A rapidly growing sport is snowboarding with hundreds of thousands of Canadians taking up the sport. If you’re new to snowboarding, lessons are strongly recommended as is protective equipment including a helmet. A mild spell can be a good time to learn to snowboard as warmer weather relaxes the muscles and softens the snow lessening the impact of a fall. Since it’s popular at ski clubs and resorts, chances are you’ll be able to find lessons in your area.
Cross-country Skiing: Cross-country skiing is another sport that has been around for a long time-more than 4,000 years. Like snowshoeing, cross-country skiing provides excellent exercise. Using many of the major muscle groups, cross-country skiing has been called the best aerobic fitness activity that there is. The cardiovascular, low-impact sport can burn up to 800 calories in an hour. Newcomers to this sport may opt for lessons and to rent equipment. Start on easy, relatively short trails working your way up to longer, more difficult ones. There are hundreds of cross-country ski areas across Canada. Cross Country Canada can help you get started.
Skating & Hockey: Ice skating has been around for thousands of years and modern hockey has been played for more than a century. Both are ideal for Canadian winters. Most local arenas have public skating and hockey leagues. Community outdoor rinks also offer skating opportunities. And, in most parts of Canada, it’s cold enough to make your own rink for two to three months. A quality helmet and elbow pads are recommended for skating. Many stores offer quality used skates and other equipment if you’re on a budget. Skate Canada can help you find a skate club or skating coach in our community.
Snowshoeing: If you can walk, you can snowshoe. Snowshoeing is one of the easiest winter sports. This fun, family-oriented activity isn’t new having been practiced for approximately 6,000 years. Archaeologists believe the recently discovered Oetzi the Iceman was wearing a pair of primitive snowshoes. Snowshoeing is a good, low-impact form of exercise. Since you will be working up a sweat you should dress in layers which can be removed or added as required. If you’re new to snowshoeing consider taking lessons and learning about the different types of snowshoes. As with any sport involving strenuous exercise, older participants should see their physician before beginning. This eco-friendly activity is allowed in many places including many parks and resorts.
Tobogganing: Tobogganing is a fun and inexpensive winter activity for children. Unfortunately, it also results in numerous injuries every year so safety is a priority. Children should wear helmets and any scarves, strings and similar items should be tucked in. Toboggan hills should be safe-not too steep or icy and should be free of obstacles, such as trees. The best hill will have long, clear run-off area. Sleds should be easy to control and children should sled in daylight and never toboggan alone.
As with any exercise, be sure to warm up properly before diving into your winter sport.