Keeping Active in the Winter

With the colder weather approaching it is essential that we keep our activity levels up and continue to monitor our mental and physical health. The Canadian 24 Hour Movement Guideline recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activity, plus several hours of light physical activity, and yet children and adults are becoming too sedentary and sitting for prolonged periods. Getting enough movement can become even more difficult as we head into colder weather. Researchers from the University of Cambridge found that physical activity was lower in autumn and winter compared to spring; with average activity levels across the children peaked in April at 65.3 min/day and reached its lowest level in February at 47.8 min/day. They also found that boys’ activity levels changed more than girls’ throughout the year, but remained higher than girls’ at all times. However, on average the boys achieved the minimum recommended activity levels in winter whereas the girls only reached this goal during the summer.

While being active in the winter months we need to make sure we are prepared and ready to be outside for prolonged periods. To be prepared you need to make sure you are wearing lots of layers, have water, and proper attire including winter boots, hats, and gloves to keep your extremities warm and limit the possibility of frostbite. The cold weather is not all bad when trying to keep active, as it has its advantages compared to the heat. Some of these reasons are that you don’t need to deal with any humidity, it's a great way to take in the sunlight during the winter months, and exercise can help build your immunity during cold and flu season.

Here are some ways to keep up your activity levels in the winter:

  • Take a nature walk outside
  • Sign up for activity in your community
  • Shovelling snow on our property
  • Skating
  • Tobogganing
  • Snowman building
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Take a walk in an inside location like a mall
  • Join the Lakehead Strava group "It's Your Move LU" to participate in the next It's Your Move challenge

Tessa Wilkins, Peer Wellness Educator Lead