The best way to warm up in the winter is to move!

Canada is famous for being cold. We extend near the North Pole, we rule hockey, there are great mountains for skiing, and we get biting winds that could turn a person inside out. We get lazy and fight the weather by staying inside on our wam, comfortable couches. We also get bored which means more snacking and the time of year means less fresh food is available and our overall health suffers.

We can’t change the weather so let’s change our mindset.

It should be common sense that as the weather cools down, we need to wear more clothes. Sadly, people think of their running outfits and instead of investing in a warm running jacket and a toque, they retire their gear until the spring. It doesn’t matter if your outdoor activity is skiing, skating, or shovelling, wear something warm on your ears and hands, layer with wicking fabrics on the bottom to keep your sweat from freezing you in the cold breeze, and wear heavier materials on the outside. If you’re worried about slipping, get a pair of ice grips to attach to your footwear.

Remember to hydrate during your workout and apply sunscreen like you do when it’s warmer outside. You’ll still sweat and burn so don’t assume cold means you can get away with leaving your suncreen and water bottle at home. Take a lukewarm beverage if the thought of drinking a cold drink outside freezes your bones. You’ll be more comfortable.

If you really can’t get outside because you don’t have a yard and your city neglects to clear sidewalks with snowclearing, make your inside time count. Do your chores faster to help pump your blood, increase oxygen intake, and have a house fit for entertaining on cold nights. Stretch, do some cardio, or lift weights while you’re watching TV. Run up and down your stairs until you’re out of breath. Take every opportunity to go faster, move more, and stay limber.

Now that we’re motivated to move, let’s accept fitness trainer Bonnie Lang’s challenge to be in better shape on January 1, 2011 than we are now. The upcoming holidays don’t have to mean late mornings and fatty foods. The way Christmas and New Years fall this year means a lot of us (those with great employers anyway) will be off for the majority of the holiday season. Take time to build a snowman, walk your dog for a little longer, or hit the gym when you would usually head to work. You’ll keep off that holiday weight and feel great going into the new year.


Bonnie Lang Fitness

The Mayo Clinic – Exercise and cold weather: Tips to stay safe outdoors

The Mayo Clinic – Fitting in fitness: Finding time for physical activity