With the start of a new year, the Physical Health Team from the Peer Wellness Program at Health Promotion would like to welcome back every member of the University of Ottawa. Given the current situation and the flexibility that the pandemic requires, it can be difficult to feel motivated to fit physical activity into our routines. As we may have thought about doing so for the new year, setting goals for physical activity and achieving them can seem like a tedious task. Thankfully, this article is perfect for all those looking to have a great time while achieving good health over the winter!
Physical activity is beneficial for growth and development. It gives us energy, reduces stress, strengthens us, and extends our independence as we age. Physical activity also aids in the prevention of chronic diseases like cancer, obesity, hypertension, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Even if the weather is colder, you don't have to bring your workouts inside! In certain ways, winter has advantages that summer does not. Cold weather, for example, may increase endurance since your heart doesn't have to work as hard, you sweat less, and you burn less energy. Winter workouts also allow you to get sun exposure which may help you avoid seasonal affective disorder. Keep reading for ways you can get active during the winter months so you can reap these benefits!
Looking for some great skiing and snowboarding options around Ottawa? Check out Camp Fortune in Gatineau Park, with 20 downhill runs varying from beginner to expert levels, a terrain park to practice your tricks, and even night skiing! About a half hour drive from downtown, discover Ski Vorlage, a family ski center catering especially to beginner alpine skiers, and in the same area swing by Sommet Edelweiss, with the region’s greatest terrain parks and snow tubing. If interested in cozying up in a chalet (once it is safe to do so), drive over to Mont Cascades Ski Resort with their ski park and snowshoe trails.
If you love cross-country skiing, Ottawa's got you covered! Glide through Gatineau Park, an all-time favorite destination for ski fans with one of the largest networks of winter trails in North America. Check out similar centers with scenic trails around the Ottawa River, the Rideau River, or nearby snowy forests, with rental shops, ski lessons, and often free access. These include Mooney’s Bay Ski Centre, Britannia Winter Trail, Kichi Sibi Winter Trail, Rideau Winter Trail, Ski Heritage East, and the Ottawa West Winter Trail.
Skating is another way to get active during the winter! Luckily, Ottawa is home to the world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink: the rideau canal. Skate along the ice from downtown Ottawa to Dows Lake while soaking in the sights along the way. Ottawa also offers refrigerated outdoor rinks as a terrific alternative. The Rink of Dreams, located along the Skateway in front of Ottawa City Hall, is a wonderful place to skate. Enjoy music from the speakers and come after sundown to see the rink illuminated in a range of colors. These two skating locations are located so close to the University of Ottawa!
There are many activities one can do in the wintertime to benefit their health. Some students may feel the need to stay indoors due to the cold weather. However, going outside and participating in events such as skiing, snowboarding, and skating can help burn energy, improve mood, and increase physical activity levels!
Harvard Health Publishing. (2020, June 17). The wonders of winter workouts. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-wonders-of-winter-workouts
Public Health Agency of Canada. (2018, October 1). Physical activity and your health. Canada.ca. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/being-active/physical-activity-your-health.html#a1