by Stephanie Nickel
With the colder weather descending upon us, it can be difficult to motivate ourselves to get outside – other than to run to and from a warm car.
Here are some suggestions to keep you active through the fall and winter.
1. Attitude . . . It all starts with a positive attitude. Deliberately give thanks for the countless blessings God pours out. (i.e.: a warm home; a job that necessitates clearing those windows and shovelling out the car [many people are unemployed]; clothes that protect you from the elements; eyes to see; ears to hear; strength to do what needs to be done; the beauty of trees laden with snow; the light dancing off the snow; etc.) (Trust me, when I have to face a particularly bitter day, I will have to remind myself of my own advice.)
2. On a clear night, bundle up and head for the country to stargaze. While this doesn’t constitute physical activity, it can do wonders for your sense of awe. As King David said, “What is man that you are mindful of him . . .”
3. I am participating in The Slow Down Challenge. The theme for Day 1 is to notice those things others miss. We were instructed to take a 15+ minute walk and notice what is usually overlooked. Monday was chilly and overcast, but I grabbed my camera and off I went. I love, love, love to take a photo walk. There’s no need to be a professional photographer or own an expensive camera. Just take some time to look at life through the lens. You may even forget about the cold wind and the grey skies.
4. When the white stuff comes to stay, we’ll have many opportunities for outdoor activity. Granted, you may not look forward to shovelling the driveway and scraping the car windows, but it can be good exercise – if you’re careful not to strain your muscles. It can also be good for the soul if you offer to do the same for an older or infirmed neighbour.
5. When was the last time you made a snowman? You don’t have any kids, you say? And that’s relevant why? (grin)
6. Hiking through the woods in the winter can be wonderful. Trees block the wind and snow transforms the landscape. However, if the snow is deep, be careful. I actually pulled the muscles in my chest by trudging through deep snow.
7. Find a friend who likes to walk/hike in the winter. (S)he’ll keep you motivated and your conversation just might distract you from the fact that you’re getting exercise.
8. Find a sledding hill and relive your childhood. Just remember your bones and muscles may not be what they once were. No matter. You can still have a blast.
9. Build a snow fort.
10. Have a snowball fight. Again, kids are optional.
11. If you live in the country or have a big lot in town, you may want to make an old-fashioned rink and go skating. A pick-up game of hockey can be fun too.
12. Go ahead! Rent the gear and take a skiing lesson or two. You may just like it.
Stephanie Nickel, CLD, PTS is a freelance writer and editor, a labour doula, and a personal trainer.