Staying active as the temperatures drop
Summer is over, but that doesn't mean you should stop moving! Calgary has tons to offer when it comes to keeping yourself moving during the fall and winter - you just need to know where to go!
We want you to stay active so we have created a great list of activities and places you can head to as the temperatures drop.
Please make sure that no matter what activity you chose, you do it safely. Overexerting yourself can cause muscle strains and adhesions and can also have a negative impact on the cardiovascular system. As well, the mountains around us are beautiful but can also be very dangerous. Please make sure you have the knowledge and tools needed if you are heading into the backcountry this winter!
#1: Snowboarding and Skiing
How could I not make this our number one activity? Growing up in Ontario, I thought I was a great snowboarding, until my first day at Sunshine Village where I met reality face down in a pile of powder which for the life of me I could not seem to stay afloat on.
Welcome to the Rockies, we are blessed! People travel from all over the world to ride in our backyard, let’s make the most of where we live!
If you haven’t tried snowboarding or skiing, I highly recommend you take a few lessons. If you want to stick close to town, COP here in the North West will get you all set up with some rentals and the basics. If you want to experience the mountains – head to Sunshine! They have everything from beginners runs with instructors to double black diamond runs such as the Dive that you’ll need some avy gear for. Many of the mountains also offer kids and teens programs meaning you can send your little off on a lesson and enjoy the hill while they are learning!
There’s nothing better than a ski trip so if you’ve been banking that time off during COVID – hit the hills! Our other favourite hills include Lake Louise, Panorama, Revelstoke, Fernie and Kimberly.
#2: Cross-country skiing:
Not a big fan of speeding downhill fast or the height of chairlifts? Try cross-country skiing! This sport has been around for ages, first practiced in Scandanavia almost five millenia ago! This sport is an excellent cardiovascular activity as it gets your blood pumping and your lungs working if you keep a brisk pace. Muscle wise you are targeting your triceps, core, glutes and hamstrings – a true full body workout! You can grab a used pair of skiis and boots off kijiji or even take a lesson and the Nordic Centre to see if you like the sport before investing!
Here are some of our favourite cross-country skiing locations around Calgary:
Shaganappi Point Golf
Confederation Golf Course:
West Bragg Creek and Kananaskis:
Canmore Nordic Centre:
If you want to dabble in an outdoor winter sport but want a bit more control, grab some snowshoes. Already missing summer hiking? Many of the trails around Kananaskis and Bragg Creek can actually be accessed in the winter if you have the right gear. Snowshoeing makes an excellent group activity day as skill level may not be as big of a concern as it would be with snowboarding and x-country skiing. You can purchase snowshoes and poles at many sporting goods stores, and even sometimes Costco!
Heads up! Snowshoeing may seem safe, but it is highly recommended you attend an avalanche training course if you are heading out into the backcountry! You may not be hiking up the mountains, but an avalanche can happen at any time and you should always carry the proper gear such as a beacon, shovel and probe depending on where you are travelling. Here’s some of the team’s favourite snowshoe trails:
Galatea Creek and Lillian Lake
Some of our clients actually play in adult hockey leagues and boy do we commend them for that! Those games start at 11pm sometimes, how on earth do they get up for work in the morning? Well if you aren’t as hardcore but still want to lace them up, Calgary and surrounding areas have some awesome indoor and outdoor rinks!
Check out your local community centre or one of these beautiful skating areas:
Princess Island Lagoon
Thomson Family Park
Cougar Creek Ice Rink
Rundle Crescent Rink
The Pond Rink
Banff & Lake Louise
The Waldhaus at the Fairmont
Snow Days Ice Rink (in the middle of town!)
Lake Louise (when weather permits and it is deemed safe!)
No matter what your speed or expertise level, try getting outside as the weather cools. It has been a tough year of staying inside and our bodies do notice when we lack movement. By heading outside and getting some fresh air and Vitamin D we are not only taking care of our bodies but our mental health as well.
Keep yourself warm and prepared by dressing in layers. It may be chillier in the morning when you head out but after a few laps you may become pretty toasty! A toque and gloves are absolute necessities as our ears and fingers can be much more susceptible to frost bite compared to our larger body parts.
And we shouldn’t have to tell you this. . .but please stretch! Pre and post activity – you will be more like to avoid strains and adhesions if you dedicate five minutes before and after day out to stretch out your hamstrings, glutes, calves and triceps.
We want to keep our families, friends and neighbours safe – so try to make your outdoor activity groups small. We can maintain social distance outside much easier than inside (that’s a plus!) and can still smile and wave when we see someone pass us on a trail. Positive mindset and crisp air go hand in hand!
We hope you enjoyed our cold weather activity suggestions and get out there and enjoy what our beautiful city has to offer!