Edmonton Offers Winter Fitness Ideas
Friday, Jan 09, 2015 02:17 pm
Anybody who knows me will tell you that I’m not a fan of winter. I’ve had several knee dislocations and broken bones caused by run-ins with the ice that justify my dislike of the season.
Those same people will tell you that I’m not a big fan of exercise either.
So, here I am in a winter city, and I don’t like exercise at the best of times. Rather than my usual plan to hibernate through the winter, I explored ways to stay fit and made a winter fitness drawing board.
This year I've decided it’s time to get creative. In September I started Tai Chi, which is a mind/body workout that doesn’t put any impact on your joints and is perfect for all fitness levels. I’ve also worked with a trainer to improve my stability, balance, and strength.
But I know I’m going to quickly get bored. Indoor exercise is perfect for very cold days when it is dangerous to go outside. Or even for those days when I would rather curl up with a good book than move an inch, but I know it’s not going to keep me excited about fitness all winter.
As I created my winter fit board, I checked in with Edmonton woman and got some ideas from them.
A great way to avoid boredom is to do more than one thing. Sherry H-P. has a varied approach to exercise and likes to do some of it indoors. “Moksha Yoga requires focus, meditation, athleticism and heat. A cold weather workout if ever there was one. There are lots of scheduled classes throughout the week, so it’s easy to access.”
But if I stay indoors all winter, I’ll miss out on the great winter activities that Edmonton offers. So, back to my winter fitness ideas.
One of the most important aspects of fitness is how you define it. A regular routine such as running every day and getting to the gym several times a week is an impressive way to define fitness.
But if you can’t make the time or you don't have the desire for a dedicated exercise schedule, are you out of luck on the fitness front? Absolutely not! And the onset of winter doesn’t leave you stuck or without ways to enjoy staying fit.
Think back to how you had fun during the winter when you were a kid. How much energy did you burn sledding down a hill, walking back up, and doing it all again. And again. And again. Why not go sledding, snowboarding or ice-skating with your friends or family; it's one way to get outside and have fun in our beautiful city. After you’ve tired yourself out, head indoors for a hot cocoa or a special coffee to warm up.
It’s also important to have a backup plan. Brittany L. says that “proper gear” is essential when “I go out to jog and run stairs when it’s not too slippery out. Or, if it’s icy, my roommate and I take her dogs for a walk through the neighbourhood.”
Dog walks are a popular choice with Edmontonians. The city has some excellent dedicated dog parks that allow us to meet other dog lovers and let our pets get their exercise too. Lisa L. goes on “dog walks in the offleash park, and spin classes” to stay fit.
An important aspect of winter fitness is safety. Think about your footing and staying warm when the temperature dips. Make sure to warm your muscles up a little before heading out and choose the right gear. Livit247, who takes “after work jogs outside in protective clothing” says that “the proper shoes/footwear can really make a difference outside when it comes to safety in winter.”
Snowshoeing is another activity on my winter fit drawing board. There are several parks in and around Edmonton that allow snowshoeing. If you’re like me and want to try before you buy, then rent a pair of shoes for an afternoon, take a lesson, and see if it’s for you. But I’ve been told it’s a full workout, so be prepared to sleep well that night.
The City of Edmonton keeps many trails clear for walkers, so why not go for a quiet walk through the River Valley. Or take your family and friends and get a new perspective on the city.
Running groups can also make winter exercise more fun. Sherri H-P. says “My approach this year is running with the Running Room as their weekly Sunday practice runs are refreshing: the cold air, big blue sky, like-minded friends … it actually makes the winter weeks fly by. Promise.”
Pamela F’s answer to winter fitness is short and sweet: “Cross country skiing!” With no shortage of trails in or around the city and plenty of places to rent skis, there’s no reason not to give it a try.
This is the perfect time of year to involve your family and friends in group exercise. Edmonton had a giant snowball fight in December where kids of all ages had fun in the River Valley. Not prepared to organize a city-wide snowball fight? Try it on a neighbourhood scale. There’s nothing like building defences and stockpiling snowballs to get your heart-rate up.
And if snowball fights aren’t your thing, then put all that snow to good use and help your kids build a snow family. You’ll all feel better for it.
Still not convinced that outdoor exercise is the way to go? Here’s another idea from Sherry H-P. “This year I purchased a YEG fitness pass for a friend and I to explore new adventures. Really looking forward to SurfSet fitness and an Orange Theory class.”
And if you're looking for an exotic experience, but don't have the time for a tropical vacation, sign up for pole dancing, belly dancing, or hip hop lessons. There’s lots of studios in the city that offer classes and workouts.
So Edmonton, whether you choose a dedicated exercise program or plan to do something offbeat, don’t forget to make time for staying fit while having fun this winter. Maybe I’ll even see you out there.