Let’s face it, depending on your climate, it’s really easy to love being outdoors when it’s temperate, pleasant and dry. That’s when the playgrounds are filled with kids, bike paths are hazardous and your Facebook feed includes nothing but selfies taken at the beach or outdoor patio. But the second the weather turns gloomy or frosty? It’s a ghost town out there.

Living in Oakville, Ontario, just outside of Toronto on the shores of Lake Ontario, winters can range from howling blizzards to green Christmases, flash freezes and all points in between. But as a busy working mom to two young kids, who craves fresh air and outdoor activity not just as a means of stimulation but also for my own mental and physical well-being, I’ve learned to adapt to anything the other mother (nature, that is), throws my way. How? Read on.

1. Think like a penguin

What do a penguin and a well-prepared outdoor enthusiast have in common? A layer of insulating blubber, waterproof exterior and the ability to generate body heat by staying active (in the penguin’s case, by swimming up to 10 km an hour).

Outdoor enthusiast

Penguin in Antarctica; Shutterstock ID 10155715

Don’t have (much) blubber? Make sure you have a good base layer (I’m partial to Helly Hansen’s wool half zip top and pants) and a jacket with waterproof exterior that gives you the freedom to move around. You’ll have just as much fun shoveling the driveway as you do schussing down a mountain side when you’re warm and dry. Promise.

2. Channel your inner Viking

Outdoor enthusiast

In Scandinavian countries, there is a long-held cultural belief that fresh air fortifies the body and clears the mind. Though many parts of Canada share a similar climate with these countries and a history of settling land with imposing forces of nature, not all Canadians have fully accepted this friluftsliv philosophy (a Norwegian word that literally translates to”free air life”).

If Danish babies can take their naps outdoors in strollers, surely you can take the dog for a long walk or play a quick game of ultimate Frisbee in the snow. It’ll help you appreciate nature, get exercise and boost your spirits.

3. Take a stay-cation.

Outdoor enthusiast

Have you ever seen what features are highlighted in Canadian tourism ads shown abroad?  SNOW! If tourists are attracted to our snow-capped peaks, stunning vistas and ice hotels, we should be too. In Ontario, there are a multitude of ski resorts,  adventure companies and outdoor spas to take your breath away.

Don’t have the cash? There are tons of free winter carnivals, organized public skates and other activities to take part in. Check your town or city’s website or follow its social media feeds for event information.

Whatever you do- get out there and have embrace the cold!

Remember- there is no bad weather, just bad clothing (and a bad attitude!). That being said, may the fair winds be ever in your favour this winter season.

 

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