Breaking barriers to keeping active during the winter months – Part I
By Tina Michaud, PSP Ottawa Physical Exercise Specialist
It’s cold, windy and icy with limited day-light; you much prefer staying indoors in the warm while waiting for spring to roll around, your gym routine might be a little monotonous, but it sure beats facing the elements! We often think: physical activity = gym; however there are many outdoor activities you can do to keep active in combination with you usual gym exercise regimen. Throughout this brief article, we’ll look at breaking barriers to ensure you can get outside and enjoy the winter!
Injuries resulting from slips and falls are much more likely in winter due to slippery and sometimes wet conditions. Many opt-out of activities like walking and jogging in the winter for fear of falling and injuring themselves. Again, ensuring you have the right gear to face the elements is the foundation of enjoying your usual outdoor activities. Ice cleats are a great way to provide you with the extra grip you need to avoid slips and falls. Various different types of ice cleats exist and most are quite versatile allowing you to wear running shoes or even your winter boots. Alternatively or in combination, you could also use trekking poles which will help with maintaining balance and engaging your upper body during walks.
Limited daylight in the winter months is another common reason why people aren’t motivated to go outdoors. We often find ourselves leaving the office at dusk, with not much interest to go out afterwards. Risks include not seeing obstacles, lack of visibility for vehicles, as well as fear of personal safety in more isolated neighbourhoods. The use of headlamps, small personal lights and reflective bands is a good way to stay visible and ensure that you can see. As for personal safety, try going out with a friend or a family member and stay within well-illuminated areas with presence of other persons.
So now that you are ready to go, what to do? Activities around your home can include walking, jogging, shoveling, or even building a snowman or snow fort with the kids. Lifting loads, in this case snow, can be very physically exerting and will help you keep active and off the couch. Keep in mind to use your legs to lift rather than your back and avoid twisting movements to maintain proper lifting technique.,
Have you thought about skiing or snowshoeing, but not sure where to go and where to get equipment? PSP Ottawa offers a snowshoe and cross country ski program for all active CAF personnel and members of the Defence Communitu at Hylands Golf Club. Find a buddy (two participants minimum) and register to use the trail by calling (613) 521-1842 ext. 111. Equipment rental is free for CAF personnel, and can be rented for a fee for family members and civilians. For more information, you can communicate with Matt.Clitheroe@hylandsgc.com.
This post is also available in: Français (French)