6 Ways to Stay Active Outside During Winter
Often during the winter many people become inactive or hibernate in the gym during the winter. From the mountains on the North Shore to the newly renovated skating rink in Robson Square and Richmond Oval Vancouver, to hiking on the trails, Vancouver offers many fantastic ways to keep moving while enjoying time with family and friends.
1. Cross Country Skiing
A full-body activity that combines aerobic endurance with muscular endurance. Choose from the low-impact, more gentle classic technique or push yourself a little more by choosing to skate ski. Cypress Mountain has the lower trails for beginners or make your way up to the top if you are more advanced and looking for more adventure. Enjoy a hot chocolate or lunch at the rustic Hollyburn Lodge. (Yes, there are downhills!)
Explore Seymour, Grouse Mountain or Cypress Mountain on snowshoes. Get your heart pumping and legs stronger while working on your balance as you float across the snow. Go for a casual walk or be more vigorous by running.
3. Nordic Polw Walking
Easily head out your front door with this low-impact activity and free activity. Using Nordic Poles gets your upper body working, gives you more stability and raises your heart rate. Add YakTraxs to your shoes for more grip on the ice and snow. Remember to point your poles behind you and into the ground to help propel you forward.
4. Ice Skating
As a young child in Saskatchewan, I remember going ice skating on an outdoor rink sometime around Christmas with my parents. We can now do to this again in the refurbished GE ICE Plaza at Robson Square for FREE! It is open from 9am to 9pm through the Olympics. Head to Richmond Oval and skate on the same ice that Olympians will use for Speed Skating. Skating is always good for a laugh and good memories.
If you think Snowboarding is only for kids and teenagers, think again. I know one 60 year old who took up snowboarding and had a great time his first time out. You don’t have to be going through the halfpipe and turning tricks to enjoy yourself while working on your balance and coordination. Grouse
6. Downhill Skiing
With several mountains available to us, downhill skiing seems to be a popular sport at any age. This one of the riskier winter sports, common injuries for downhill skiers are ACL, MCL, meniscus tears and even broken legs. Ski at your level and be aware of others around you to avoid unintentionally injuring yourself or someone else. Downhill skiing is less aerobic than some of the other choices, but it certainly will help with hip, knee and core strength. Keep your torso upright to limit stress on your lower back. Cypress, Whistler, Blackcomb and Seymour are all great places to enjoy the glide of finding your edge.
Find an activity that you enjoy, that you find a little challenging and that gives you a sense of accomplishment. Invest in a lesson at the beginning of the day, then take what you learned out on the snow for the rest of the time. If you are trying a new activity, there are lots of places either on the mountains or at outdoor shops such as MEC where you can rent equipment.
Even though Vancouver generally has mild winters, remember to dress in layers and dress appropriately for the weather (it can be wet). Since you are going to be moving and, yes, sweating, start with base layer of long underwear that wicks away moisture and finish with outerwear that is light, wind-resistant, snow/water proof and breathable. We lose the most heat from our feet and head, so add a toque, gloves and warm socks to keep you completely warm. Have a set of dry clothes ready to change into when you finish so you don’t get cold.What to Bring?
One lesson a I learned from competing in biathlons is to bring a water bottle with you filled with warm or hot water. By the time you are ready to drink, it will be cool instead of frozen. Also, bring snacks such as trail mix to keep you fueled.Lastly, when heading into the great outdoors, go with a friend or at the very least let someone know where you are heading.