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Get the Most out of Winter — an article on the Smart Living Network
October 15, 2009 at 8:43 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Get the Most out of Winter

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With the arrival of cold weather comes a change in habits. During the summer, we are active, visit friends, get outside on weekends to play with the kids, and we feel energized, happy and healthy.

Once autumn arrives people start to slow their habits, reflecting the slowing of the season and the chilling of the temperatures. People stay in more, they watch more TV, rent or attend more movies, and probably eat more as they are cold and feel starved for something. This is considered perfectly natural in American culture, to hibernate in the winter.

Except, we are not bears.

We cannot gain up to forty pounds in the winter time and have it melt off come spring, with no consequences. Every New Year's Day millions of Americans make a resolution to go on a diet, probably to lose the weight they gained over the holiday season. That pattern takes place in the middle of the winter for people, and it's not as healthy and natural as some would have you believe.

Now that we have established that people are not bears,

what can we do to avoid falling into the "bear trap?"

Going outside and getting the most out of your winter will keep you trim and active while combating boredom or "winter blues." And, it's easy.

Are you snowed in and can't get down your street to drive to work today? Get out those cross country skis and wave to your neighbors who are snow-blowing their driveways. Bundle the kids in snowpants and build a snowman in your yard. Have a couple kids? Build a snow family. In addition to the fun novelty and bonding time, this delivers health benefits too. Vitamin D deficiencies can be avoided by getting 20 minutes of sunlight a day, even if only on your hands and face.

There are many snow sports that you can try out this winter.

All you need is equipment and facilities. Equipment can be expensive when purchased brand new, but if you are trying a sport for the first time, you can rent equipment or buy it at a low price from local thrift stores. Facilities can range from your local parks to elaborate winter resorts.

Fun snow sports that you can try at local parks include snow shoeing, sledding, tobogganing, cross country skiing and ice skating. If you are looking to join a sport, try ice hockey or figure skating. Other than team costs, many of these activities cost little to no money after renting or purchasing the initial equipment.

They are also a great time to bond with your family and children, as well as your pets (some dogs love cross country skiing and snow shoeing). Cross country skiing is among the four healthiest cardiovascular activities you can do for exercise. When you get active in any of these activities, you will not have to fear the cold. In fact, layered clothing is recommended because you'll start sweating sooner than you think.

Tropical vacations are fun with the family, but try a winter vacation this year and you can return without resenting your local weather.

Take a trip out west, to the east coast, or to the Midwest and visit a ski resort. At many ski resorts, you can go "alpine" or downhill skiing, snowboarding, snowblading (skis that are less than half the length of Alpine skis and slightly wider) or cross country skiing. Lessons are available at a discount for groups, and most people can pick up skiing after a day's practice. Ski trips with the family are fun for kids of all ages, and they can bring their friends too. Spend the day on the slopes followed by a nice dinner and a cozy log fire to recount the day's highlights and bond with your friends and family.

Use this winter to your full advantage, and keep you and your family happy, healthy, and active all year round.

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