Ask the Expert: Not a big fan of winter

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Q: I am physically active during eight months of the year, but when winter arrives I hibernate and don’t come out until all the snow has melted. I got away with this fitness approach for years, but as I get older it’s harder to get back into shape after four months of doing nothing. I’m not a big fan of winter and hope you have some advice to help me get more active during that time of the year?

—MCpl Fairweather

A: Dear MCpl Fairweather,

Being physically active year-round is a smart move for your health and fitness. Exercising during the winter months can be challenging and here are some tips that might help you enjoy working out during this special time of the year:

  1. Instead of focusing on the negatives, think of winter as an opportunity to do some unique, physically challenging, and fun things such cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, tobogganing, or downhill skiing. With good clothing and the right equipment, there will be very few days when bad weather stops you from participating.
  2. If being outside is out of the question, make use of the excellent indoor fitness facilities you have on your base, wing, or in your community. Using military facilities costs you nothing, and the PSP sports and fitness staff are well-trained and offer a wide variety of sports and fitness programs to help you train smart and safely.
  3. Try joining a base or unit team. Playing sports such as hockey, indoor soccer, volleyball, or basketball can be a lot of fun and you may even get the opportunity to do some travelling and make new friends.
  4. Challenge yourself! This could be something as simple as learning to be a better swimmer, seeing if curling is any fun, or preparing to run a 10 km race in the spring. This strategy can serve as a great motivator to get you out the door and exercising.
  5. If all else fails, save up your leave and go own south where the weather is always nice. The bottom line is that winter offers you many opportunities to do physical activities that are simply not available any other time of the year.

This winter, give these strategies a try. I am sure you will never want to hibernate again.

 

–Dr. Darrell Menard, MD Dip Sport Med

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