If winter comes, can spring be far behind? – Percy Bysshe Shelley

As the final leaves fall and the crispness of the autumn air fades into the bite of the cold winter it can make perfect sense to pack up and go inside. Why shiver in a blustery wind when you can stay toasty next to a fire? As humans our desire for warmth led to the discovery of fire and eventually put heating coils into our car seats – it is innate to who we are.

So too, is moving.

And move you must. This winter should be the first of many that you and your family decide to enjoy the season and stay active in the outside world. Regardless of what activity pulls you closer together, for warmth and for family, be sure to do something in the coming season to keep healthy and stay active!

Here are five great ideas to help you get started:

1. Skiing/Snowboarding

It wouldn’t be a winter sports article without mentioning two of the most iconic activities of the season. Instead of huddling indoors during the next big snowfall, go out into it and enjoy the fun that two skis or a snowboard can provide when buckled to your feet.

Don’t worry if you aren’t experienced, or if someone in your family has never tried the sports either. Most locations offer counsel, beginner hills, and even help down the bigger slopes if requested. The challenge of mastering your body is beneficial to the human form as you’ll experience positive adaptations in your nervous system, musculoskeletal system, and your metabolic conditioning.

2. Hiking (Snow-Shoe)

A bit more advanced than the traditional winter sports, hiking in snowshoes can be exhilarating and exhausting just the same. This activity takes traditional hiking and adds in the need to overcome depths of fresh powder and interesting scrambles on a trail.

Strictly speaking in metabolic terms, hiking in snow shoes may be the most expensive exercise on this list as it requires a full body effort at all times. The additional weight of layered clothing, the sinking of feet into the snow, and the challenge of navigating can make the body truly work near its threshold.

This activity is excellent to take on as a family assuming the appropriate intensity level is chosen.

3. Sledding

A childhood past time doesn’t have to end once you’ve become adult and “real life” takes over. Take the next snow day and find a sled, or even a trash can lid, and go slide down the side of a bigger hill. The benefits are nearly too much to explain in a single article, but let’s look at a few big ones.

Some studies have shown the ability to burn as many as 362 calories in an hour of sledding, which is outstanding considering you are riding on your bottom for much of it. The psychological and emotional benefit of letting “go” of stress and being a kid again can dramatically lower cortisol, elevate dopamine, and contribute to an increase in wellness.

Whether you are with kids, your significant other, or you and your friends just want to feel young again, find a sled and have a blast.

4. Ice Skating

Cold temperatures can turn ponds to ice and dates on a calendar into memories if the conditions are just right. Ice skating is one of those activities that is fun no matter who you do it with, just so long as you are doing it with someone else.

Often referred to as dancing on ice, ice skating is an activity that is demanding of the muscles, fascia, and nervous system. Balance, strength, and agility are all integral parts of the experience. Yet, adding in the timelessness of skating with your best friends, the love of your life, or helping your littlest one stay upright is a sure way to have fun outdoors this winter.

5. Just Play

Do not mistake the abstract nature of this last activity as an attempt to simply fill space on a page. Rather, the act of playing is one of the most beneficial arts lost upon our modern society.

Every form of movement is always better than inactivity, especially once it is a shared experience. The gym will always be there, and so too will be the court that you play social sports on. Get outside and live through the winter.

Find a football and throw it through cold wind with your friends on a Sunday. Have a snowball fight with your kids on the morning the powder settles like a smooth blanket, or velvet painting on your front lawn. Go for a run with that person you’ve been meaning to take some time for, and definitely make snow angels with the one you love.

The winter is a season, which innately draws us together as we seek warmth against the elements. Holidays, a new year, and the eventual emergence of the first leaf will all occur as we depart November station towards our destination, April. Don’t let another winter go quietly into the longer nights. Get out there and make memories!

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