I was interviewd by a publication Calgary’s Child recently (Jan 2013) on how to stay active all year round.
Here is an excerpt:
Getting fit outdoors doesn’t have
to cost a fortune •
BY LISA EVANS
Don’t let the cold get you down. Get outdoors,
have fun and stay fit. Huddled in front of the fire
is one way to pass the cold winter days, but
Calgary pediatrician Dr. Peter Nieman says keeping
active all year round is an important element in
combating childhood obesity. “It’s important to be active
all year round, but especially in the wintertime because
that [tends to be when] we consume foods that are high
in sugar and carbohydrates,” says Dr. Nieman. In
addition to sugary treats at Halloween and Christmas, Dr.
Nieman sees an increase in carbohydrate consumption in
the cold, winter months. Higher consumption of sugar
and carbohydrates causes insulin levels to rise, which Dr.
Nieman says is a major cause of weight gain.
While skiing, snowshoeing
and skating are great winter
exercises, getting fit outdoors
doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
Freshly fallen snow provides a
host of simple free and fun
activities you can do in your
own backyard that are sure to
cure your cabin fever and keep
the whole family physically fit.
Backyard scavenger hunt.
Freshly fallen snow provides a
perfect opportunity to host a
treasure hunt. Bury toys and
holiday ornaments for kids to
unearth then dig out your
summer beach tools and set
them loose with their pail and
shovel. Give kids 10 minutes to
run around and see how many
objects they can uncover.
Build a snowman. A longtime
favorite winter activity, rolling large balls of snow
can burn up to 285 calories per hour. Get everyone to
make their own version of themselves in snow form,
creating a Frosty family. Make sure you have some
carrots on hand for noses and pebbles for eyes. Dress
them up using your own clothing, such as dad’s old tie,
mom’s necklace and old kids’ clothes.
Snow angels. Spread your wings and decorate your
lawn with snow angels. Lie down in the freshly fallen
snow and move your legs in and out and arms up and
down, creating the silhouette of an angel. This simple
activity can burn as many as 214 calories per hour.
Snow golf. Just because your mini golf course is
Dig out a small hole every few feet and bury tin cans in
the holes, marking them with mini flags. Grab your
summer putters and have fun.
Go for a hike. An hour of winter walking can burn up
to 270 calories. Bundle up and hit one of Calgary’s many
walking trails. Take a camera and look for animal tracks in
the freshly fallen snow. Have fun guessing which animals
made them and look them up on the Internet when you
get home, or download MyNature Animal Tracks app on
your iPhone and identify tracks as you go.
Winter walking games. Turn a neighborhood walk
into a fun family activity. Dr. Nieman suggests getting a
pedometer and counting how many steps you take, or
measuring how fast you can walk a pre-determined
To make sure your outdoor activities remain joyful,
take these steps to ensure winter safety.
Wear a toque. “Kids lose a lot of heat through their
heads,” says Nieman. Always cover your head when you
go outdoors, even for a short period of time.
Wear proper footwear with a tread to prevent
Stay hydrated. “Even though it’s cool outside, you
still need a lot of liquids,” says Nieman. Pack a bottle of
water or a thermos of apple cider to stay warm and
Don’t forget the SPF. Even though you aren’t out in
your bikini, your face is still exposed to the sun’s harsh
Lisa is a health and lifestyle freelance writer. Her favorite winter
activity as a child was building snowmen using her dad’s old
work uniform. CCM