At this time of year, the chilly embrace of Jack Frost can feel as unwelcome as a wet blanket, eating snow cones on a frozen pond or a long hug from your great aunt that you haven’t seen since you were five. It goes against human nature to deliberately turn off the fireplace, get out of your comfy clothes and into layers of moisture wicking, water proof gear so you can venture outside to the bone-chilling tundra, of which only polar bears and ice sculptors are acclimatized.

Perhaps I exaggerate just a smidgen but no one should minimize how biting Canadian winters can be.  The trick is to take what Mother Nature offers and make the best of it by staying fit.

How do you break this cycle of not feeling motivated when winter has settled in across our Great White North with sub zero temperatures, and less sunlight? For some lucky mammals, they just hibernate.  For the rest of us, we need compelling reasons to push ourselves out the door to go for that run or walk, hike or skate.

Living in Canada winter can be, however, an enjoyable experience with the number of activities we participate in like tobogganing, building a snow man, igloo or ice cave. Take advantage of a winter sport or activity like hockey and this will help you stay in shape during the cold months.  Curling is another Canadian winter pastime which can lead you all the way to the Olympics if you’re good enough.

Winters are much more enjoyable when you’re dressed properly, which may be obvious to most but the ones who get sick or frost bite are still there to remind us. If you happen to be a fair weather runner like so many who love the summer sun, you may be pleasantly surprised to discover just how invigorating it feels to run on a crisp, cold winter day while getting your healthy dose of vitamin D in the process.

To help inspire you to get off your comfy couch and into the spirit of exercising outdoors, here are the top four ways to stay active during winter:

After each activity reward yourself by having a cup of hot chocolate or eggnog and then cozy up by the fireplace – the feeling being much more gratifying after a workout.

1. Build a snowman

Two women with a snowman

Building a snowman can be fun for the whole family. All you need is your imagination. The bigger the snowman the bigger the workout you get. According to sources, every hour you will burn 285 calories. This is based on a 150 pound person.

2. Shovel the snow

Mother and Daughter with Snow Shovels

Shoveling snow is a good workout activity and sometimes can be a chore. You can make it fun by having the family take part in the activity and having music play in the background. You will burn 273 calories per hour based on a woman who is 120 pounds.

3. Go snowshoeing

Woman Snowshoeing Past Forest

Snowshoeing – like cross country skiing – is a good cross trainer for running and an enjoyable outing for the whole family.  Hit the trails or slopes and enjoy Mother Nature at her best. You can burn 380-plus calories based on a woman who weighs 120 pounds. Cross country skiing can help you burn over 400 calories. Ice skating can be fun for the whole family and is great for your core and upper body. Many community centers have ice rinks while some families enjoy the convenience of having their own backyard rink, depending of course on regional climate.

4. Play some hockey!

Family playing hockey

Ice hockey is Canada’s sport and what better way than to participate in it and burn calories while having fun?


No matter which activity you choose, you can be sure to feel more alive afterwards. Whether it be from having a snowball fight to finding a good hill for spending the afternoon sledding, your fun will keep you fit. If you’re a runner, mix up your routine by doing some snowshoeing or winter hiking.


Follow Christine on Twitter at @ChristineRuns and YouTube at RunWithItCB1.

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Christine is a multimedia producer. She is the host of Run With It, running, fitness and health on Novus TV. She also hosts her own radio show on CJMQ radio and is a nationally published writer. Twitter: @christineruns Run With It YouTube Channel – Run With It


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