Top Five Activities to Keep Your Family Healthy This Winter

Sub-zero temperatures make it tempting to cuddle up on the couch with Netflix and comfort food. While it’s normal to feel sluggish in the winter, kids and adults alike need to be active to stay healthy.

This winter, resist the urge to hibernate and head outside for active, family fun. St. Albert and the greater Edmonton area has plenty of winter activities all season long. Here are a few ideas for families looking to keep moving when the temperatures dip.

Go Tobogganing

What could be more quintessentially Canadian than tobogganing? Many neighborhoods in St. Albert and Edmonton have parks where bigger kids can whiz down hills on crazy carpets, saucers, and other kinds of sleds. Babies and toddlers can be held on the laps of parents or bundled up in a baby toboggan and pulled through the snow. Just remember to be safe and wear your helmets.

Fitness benefits: Cardiovascular fitness and total body strength (walking or running up a snowy hill while pulling a sled can get the blood pumping and some core stabilization is required during the ride down the hill).

Build a Snowman

This is another classic winter activity, but it requires a good amount of snow on the ground. Dress in layers and grab some mittens (ideally nylon mittens that won’t absorb moisture) before heading to the backyard, front yard, or local park.

Fitness Benefits: Cardiovascular Fitness and total body strength (largely from squatting down to pack and roll the snow into balls and, for the littles ones, pushing and stacking the snowballs on top of one another).

Looking for a park in St. Albert? The City of St. Albert has a handy map online, as well as information about park amenities.

Soccer in the Snow

Most of us play soccer only in the spring and summer, long after the snow has melted, but kids love kicking the ball around outside in any kind of weather. You can mark your goals with sticks on the snow (or bring out the nets from the garage) or play without formal rules. Especially if you play at a local park, remember to find a ball that’s a bright colour and it won’t get lost in deep snow.

Fitness benefits: Cardiovascular Fitness (running) and core stability (while kicking the ball and running on the uneven ground).

Skating

Skating is wonderful way to be active as a family, while enjoying the beautiful winter landscape. Pack up your skates, helmets, and snacks, and dress in layers with hats and mitts to keep fingers and ears protected from frost bite.

If you’re skating with young kids, you may also want to bring along a support bar or folding chair for balance. And, since small children may not have the patience for a long skating session outside, consider bringing a sled or toboggan to keep them occupied while their older siblings glide across the rink.

Fitness benefits: Cardiovascular fitness, core stability, balance

Looking for a place to skate? In St. Albert, options include: the Akinsdale/Kinex arenas (with free public skating on Sundays), Lacombe Park Lake, and the St. Albert Community League. Families can also check out the rinks in neighbouring communities, like the Barrhead Agrena and the Ray McDonald Sports Center or outdoor skating rink in Morinville.

In Edmonton, there are dozens of outdoor rinks open to the public. During the months of January and February, families can visit Churchill Square on Sundays for Swing n’ Skate, which blends live music with outdoor skating fun.

Cross-Country Skiing

If you have school-aged kids (rather than very young children), consider hitting the trails for a Nordic ski adventure. Unlike downhill skiing, Nordic or cross-country skiing can be done practically anywhere there’s snow. There are great local trails throughout St. Albert (click here for a list), and families can take lessons at the St. Albert Nordic Ski Club.

There are trails throughout the Edmonton river valley, as well, and families can take lessons and through the Edmonton Nordic Ski Club at Gold Bar Park. In February, don’t miss the Silver Skate Festival at Hawrelak Park, which offers outdoor skiing and winter activities like snow sculpture and horse-drawn sleigh-rides.

Fitness benefits: Cardiovascular fitness, core stability, balance

There are so many options for you and your family to stay active this winter! Enjoy the season while it lasts and remember to always warm up to prevent injury.