I love all seasons of the year for different reasons, but if there is one thing that is a bummer about the winter, it’s that we get outside a lot less compared to the other seasons. Not only is fresh air super important for our overall health, the lack of vitamin D that we get from the sun can actually cause our moods to sink dramatically in the winter. One in ten of us experience a clinically diagnosable mood disorder during the colder months of the year called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. So don’t get SAD, head outdoors! I’ve compiled a list of my favorite wintertime outdoor activities to help you catch some rays even when it’s chilly.
Walking. It might seem obvious, but many people don’t think to head outdoors for a walk in the wintry streets the same way they would in the warmer months. Walking outdoors is one of the easiest ways to catch fresh air in the winter, because you hardly need any equipment, just a warm pair of shoes and some winter clothing. Plus, if you have a furry friend, it’s a great way to get them some wintry exercise, as well! Be sure to use caution when walking in the winter months, as snow banks can sometimes cause hazardous conditions for pedestrians. Choose low-traffic routes or use sidewalks whenever you can.
Nature Trails/Snowshoeing. If hitting the streets is too basic for you, step up your walking game by heading to a park for a nature walk or snowshoeing session. The other months of the year tend to bring the most foot-traffic to parks, but the wintertime provides an entirely new natural backdrop that is arguably even more beautiful than what we find in the summer. Plus, hiking in the off-season comes with a super peaceful environment. Check out the awesome website, findyourpark.com, a site put out by the National Park service where you can find the perfect park and nature walks for you by entering your location and desired activity level.
Sledding. Sledding is a surprisingly good workout! The downhill part might be easy, but I always break a sweat when I’m walking up the hill, especially when I am bundled up in winter clothing. Sledding is an awesome winter activity because it is fun for the whole family. Plus, it can often be done in the backyard, or taken to the next level. Many communities have a public sledding hill, where the ride down is long, and the walk up even longer. Don’t be surprised when you find yourself panting and your quads on fire!
Playing in the Snow. Another family favorite. It doesn’t matter what you do, just get out there and get moving! Catch snowflakes on your tongue, build a snow fort, make a snowman, or have a snowball fight. Just get out in the fluffy white stuff. Your heart rate will be elevated, and I bet your mood will be, too. And who doesn’t love the feeling of coming back inside to a warm cup of cocoa or tea?
Nordic/Cross-country Skiing. This is perhaps one of the most peaceful and scenic winter activities you can do. Bundled up, gliding along, taking in nature, what’s not
to love? State parks offer designated cross-country skiing trails to provide you with beautiful wintry routes. Plus, this activity is a great way to get your heart pumping.
Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding. I have to say, I saved the best for last. There is nothing quite like being on top of a mountain in the wintertime, or feeling the wind on your cheeks as you glide down the trails and look out at the vast views all around you. Downhill skiing and snowboarding is a great winter activity for people of all levels, whether you are a seasoned expert or just a beginner. Almost all mountains offer lessons and widely varied terrain so that you can enjoy the slopes no matter what level you’re at.
I hope this article gave you some ideas for staying active in the colder months of the year. What else do you do to keep your vitamin D levels high when it’s chilly out? Comment below!