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4 surprising ways to get active this winter

It’s easy to let the short, dark and often frigid winter days stop you from getting outside and being active. But research shows that active time outdoors, even in winter, is excellent for our mental health. Physical activity can help us manage stress, boost our moods, reduce anxiety and depression, and can even play a role in preventing mental health issues.

However, being aware of these benefits may still not be enough to motivate you to get active outdoors, because winter activities like skating, hockey, skiing, or snowboarding are not for everyone.

Luckily, these aren’t the only ways to stay active outdoors this time of year. Here are four ways to get active this winter that may not have even crossed your mind:

1. Give your driveway the “all clear”woman scooping snow

Whether you use a shovel or use a snow blower, clearing snow from your driveway and sidewalk is a great way to get your heart pumping. Want some extra good karma and active minutes? Remove snow from your neighbour’s driveway and sidewalk, too!

Make sure you dress appropriately – wear a toque, gloves and winter boots, and layer your clothing. It’s also important to warm up first: shrug your shoulders, circle your arms, do some planks, light squats and knee lifts, and march or jog on the spot.

When shoveling, push the snow and scoop it in small amounts, lifting with your legs. Bend at your knees rather than your waist, keep your back straight with each scoop and avoid twisting motions like throwing the snow over your shoulder or to the side, especially if you have a history of back issues. Remember to also take regular breaks and keep yourself hydrated. If you have any chronic illness or injury, check with your primary care provider before doing either of these activities.

woman scraping snow2. Scrape for your vehicle’s sake!

If you keep your vehicle outdoors, chances are you’ll have to remove ice that forms on it before taking it out for a spin. But instead of only relying on the heat from your vehicle’s engine to melt it, manually remove the ice with a plastic scraper, rubber squeegee or soft bristle brush as it starts to melt. You’ll get some move minutes in while making your vehicle safe to drive.

3. De-ice to be n(ice) man scraping his driveway

Has your driveway transformed into a hockey rink thanks to the winter weather? Be (n)ice to yourself and others by de-icing your driveway and sidewalk to prevent slips and falls. As you lift, carry and walk with the bags of salt or sand, you’ll also get some active minutes in.

lady scraping snow in her backyard4. Do overdue yard or balcony work

Is your outdoor furniture covered in snow and ice because you didn’t get around to preparing it for winter? Well, it’s not too late to bring your outdoor items like furniture, pots, planters and tools inside or cover them up to further protect them from the elements. If you have trees in your yard, consider removing any broken or hanging branches that could cause injury.

Get Up. Get outside. Get active.

Reignite the spark from your New Year’s resolutions, beat the winter blues and embrace winter by joining the True North Challenge from February 7-21, 2022! Any of the above activities count towards your active minutes, and the more you move, the more chances you have of winning awesome prizes!

Download or open the free ParticipACTION app and rally your team today.

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