Where you live affects the way you live, work, and play. For example, some people in rural areas may spend a lot of time in their vehicles because of the distance between home, work, and services. This may make them sedentary, which means they spend a lot of time sitting.
During Alberta winters, the days get short, it gets cold, and snow starts to pile up. This can make people want to stay inside and not be active until winter is over. Many places in Alberta have winter for 6 months or longer—that’s too long for people to be inactive.
It’s a good idea to try to be more active and encourage your family and friends to do the same.
There might be many good walking trails near your home so you won’t even have to go far to be active.
How Can I Be Active All Year?
Show your family there are many great ways to be active even if you live in a rural community. Explore a new trail, walk and pick berries, or go mountain biking. Instead of taking out your ATV, go to a lake or river and try canoeing or kayaking. Are your family or friends up for some fun? Try orienteering, geocaching, or other adventure games.
Try dressing warm and go outside. Check out hard-to-reach places on snowshoes and skis, or go skating outside. Don’t let waiting for ice time at an indoor rink stop you from being active.
If you want to stay inside to be active:
- set up a circuit of exercises
- use exercise equipment (e.g., treadmill)
- follow a fitness program on TV
Staying active during the winter is good for your physical and mental health.
Help Make Your Community More Active
Is it hard to find ways and places to be active in your community? Do you get bored walking on straight gravel roads nearby? Contact your municipality and town council about encouraging people to be more active in your community. There are many low-cost ways to help create a community that supports active living for everyone.
Here are a few ideas of things you can do in your community:
- Get a group to map walking and biking routes to recreation areas and services in the community. For ideas, go to
albertatrailnet.com. Put maps in local stores or on mapping websites and submit a new route every couple of weeks.
- Start a hiking group. Choose different routes each week. In the winter, keep it going with snowshoes or go inside a gym to be active. Let the local media know what you’re doing and encourage others to join.
- Talk to a local school to arrange a walking school bus or ways to share indoor and outdoor facilities. This will make ways for the whole community to be active.
- Ask the media to do regular stories about the benefits of being active and ways to be active in your community.
- Talk to your town council about traffic calming ideas so it’s easier to walk or cycle.
- Help your local 4H club with a spring cleanup to encourage people to be active.
Every little bit helps. One person can make a difference. It’s good for your health and others who join you. Be a champion in your community and encourage others to be active with you.
Stuck at home? Move around to your favorite music or get off the couch during commercial breaks and be active.
On the road? Pack your runners and exercise clothes so you can be active in the evenings. Stop for a stretch break every 1 to 2 hours if you’re travelling a long distance. Whenever you stop for fuel, move around. Every bit of activity counts.
It’s never too early or too late to start. Activity is good for any age, any ability, any time of year, anywhere you are.
You don’t need a membership to a recreation complex or fitness centre to stay active and healthy. Use your outdoor space to its fullest. You may be surprised what you’ll discover when you’re walking, cycling, or skiing.