This winter, don’t hibernate, participate!

mom and daughter outside in the snow

Winter provides a wonderful opportunity to get active and discover the great outdoors. Although Canadians tend to be less active in the winter that might change if they knew physical activity actually boosts the immune system. That makes it easier to fight colds and the flu. 

What really helps people become and stay physically active all winter long is the pure enjoyment of it. Review these tips and pick one or two that you would like to try.

Take it outside

Say hello to snow!

  • Create a 3-D family portrait. Build a snowperson look-alike for each family member. Make a family of snow angels.
  • Build snow castles, mazes, or snow sculptures
  • Go tobogganing. Remember the helmets!
  • Plan a family game of snow pitch (slow pitch in the snow) or neighbourhood game of Capture the Snowball.
  • Use food colouring in a spray bottle to create a hopscotch game on the snow.
  • Enjoy the winter wonderland while hiking nature trails or walking on a beach.
  • Try skating on an outdoor rink.
  • Snowshoeing and cross country skiing are wonderful family outings. You can rent equipment at some outdoor activity centres or parks.

Indoor activites that are fun

Why not:

  • Organize a house fitness circuit. Include jumping jacks in the living room, wall push-ups in the bedroom, kicks in the kitchen, etc.
  • Help with housework. Tidy up and vacuum with vigour.
  • Play active games. Break up the day with a game of Twister or Simon Says.
  • Create a silly family winter dance. Enjoy some of your favourite music too!
  • Go swimming. Also try indoor skating, bowling and indoor playgrounds.
  • Take in a museum. Walk a mall or an art gallery.

Stay energized with healthy food you can pack to go or eat at home:


  • Fresh or canned fruit with yogurt, water
  • Whole wheat pita bread, cut up raw veggies and hummus as dip, water


  • Vegetarian chili in a thermos, multi-grain roll, hot chocolate in a thermos
  • Bean and vegetable soup in a thermos, whole wheat crackers, hot, pasteurized apple cider in a thermos

Food safety tips:

  • Keep cold food cold and hot food hot using either ice packs or a thermos and insulated picnic bag.
  • If you can’t wash your hands, bring along some hand sanitizer.

A word about safety in the winter

Safety is important in every season. In the winter, consider the following:

  • Dress for the weather. Hats, neck-warmers and waterproof mitts are essential.
  • Dress in layers so that you can remove them as you warm up and put them back on when you cool down.
  • Keep ears, fingertips, toes and your head covered.
  • Always wear a helmet when skiing, snowboarding, skating, playing hockey and tobogganing.
  • If you’re trying a sport or activity for the first time, consider taking a lesson.
  • Wear sunscreen when being active outdoors and drink plenty of fluids.
  • For more information about how to keep safe and prevent injuries, call your local health department or visit Safe Kids Canada.

So this winter, remember – don’t hibernate, participate!

Find out more

Canada’s Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living, Public Health Agency of Canada

Safe Kids Canada

Last Update – February 7, 2019

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