How to stay active in the Canadian winter
Winter storms have left most of Canada blanketed in snow and with a polar vortex likely on the way, many are looking to hide inside.
But for some, like Anne Francis, the cold is welcome.
At first the thought of running outside in the cold Canadian winter was daunting, but with the help of good gear and her running group, she said she now prefers it.
“It took me a few years to get comfortable running outside all winter. I just assumed that in the winter you do other things or go to the gym,” he said. she told CTVNews.ca in an interview Friday from Toronto. “After many years of running outside in the winter…I really like it and feel more comfortable.”
Francis and several other winter activity enthusiasts spoke to CTVNews.ca about embracing Canada’s colder months with proper clothing and creating an outdoor community dedicated to enjoying the snowy weather.
Francis, editor of Canadian Running Magazine, has been running for 20 years, a hobby she took up after her three children left.
With her husband’s encouragement and a willingness to overcome the “mental hurdle” of boredom and exhaustion while running, Francis allowed herself to explore the sport more.
WHAT TO WEAR FOR WINTER ACTIVITIES
Braving the snow, Francis said layering was key to ensuring she didn’t overheat.
“Generally the rule of thumb is to dress like it’s 10 degrees warmer than it actually is,” she said.
Francis decides how many layers to wear depending on whether the activity is high impact (running) or low impact (walking).
“(If) the temperatures are hovering around zero Celsius, you’ll generally want to wear tights and maybe a long sleeve and a jacket,” she said.
The layer closest to the body is the most important, Francis said, it should be made of a “moisture-wicking material”.
“The last thing you want when you’re running in the winter is to sweat and not have room for your sweat to evaporate. That’s how you cool down and cool down,” said she declared.
Anne Francis and her family (Supplied).
Judy Andrew Piel, community support coordinator for the Ottawa-based outdoor company Bushtukah, told CTVNews.ca that the layer closest to the body should be synthetic or merino wool.
“Then your outer layer, you want to make sure it’s breathable, because you’ll be colder if you’re hot and sweaty under your clothes,” she said in a phone interview on Friday during an interview. ‘a race.
Piel said for those skating on the Ottawa Canal or downhill skiing, a “bulky” winter jacket is best. For running or cross-country skiing, she prefers the GORE-TEX brand.
“Usually you can run in cross-country ski clothes, they’re interchangeable,” she said. “A lot of cross-country ski jackets are designed to have more wind protection in the front…And they’re more breathable in the back.”
Both runners advise people to keep their heads warm with a hat or headband.
In addition to snow and low temperatures, Canadians see their fair share of ice. Extra care should be taken for those keen to go out on slippery days.
Michèle Guimond, vice-president of marketing for Mountain Equipment Company (MEC), describes herself as an outdoor enthusiast.
“I’m a passionate, year-round West Coast woman who enjoys running and skiing, Nordic skiing, cross-country skiing, mountain biking and gravel biking,” she said. told CTVNews.ca in an interview Friday.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Guimond said nature has always been a part of her life, especially in winter. Even when the temperatures drop, Guimond can be found enjoying summer sports in the winter.
One of his favorite ways to get out is mountain biking. When in the mountains, whatever the activity, it brings “microspikes”, which attach to the sole of any shoe to provide additional traction on the ice.
“Some (microspikes) are better for running, very light, some are better for longer distance hiking and are a bit sturdier,” Guimond said.
Since the sun sets earlier, Guimond says she always brings lights with her. In town, she advises people to wear reflective clothing.
Whether it’s daylight or not, Guimond says she never goes out on the trails alone.
To feel more secure, Francis said that when she goes on a run alone in Toronto, she brings a phone.
“Many phones now have built-in security features and you could get in trouble there… It’s good to have your phone on you if you do,” she said.
HOW TO STAY MOTIVATED
When it’s minus 25 degrees Celsius with a wind chill factor, it can be easy not to go outside. Franz Plangger’s motivation comes from the fact that he is going to have fun.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have a great time outdoors regardless of the weather,” he told CTVNews.ca during an interview Friday from his home in Calgary.
Franz Plangger (photo) likes to go out in winter. (Contributed)
In the past, Plangger worked for Outward Bound Canada, a company providing educational activities and outdoor tours. He had the good fortune to participate in expeditions across Canada. His most memorable adventure was a dog sledding adventure in Algonquin Park in Ontario.
Today, as executive director of the Outdoors Council of Canada, an organization that champions barrier-free outdoor programs, he tries to motivate others to get outdoors.
“I think the easiest entry point is to walk through a park,” he said. “Secondly, cross-country skiing is also relatively easy to get to. There are a lot of old cross-country skis that are for sale second-hand.”
Plangger said people should look for an outdoor club in their community to socialize with nature.
Guimond and Francis said they both find motivation in being outside of friends and family.
“Going out with friends and being social is definitely part of it,” Guimond said. “You know you’ll always feel better after doing it.”
Another motivating factor for Plangger is that the Canadian winter can provide a moment of reflection.
“Enjoying the outdoors doesn’t have to be a big adventure,” he said. “The beauty of natural spaces is that you just have to look around… It takes you away from the to-do list and then gives you time to be in the moment.”
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