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Active living for the holidays

Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow? Whether you’re a fan of the white stuff or not, it’ll be hard for many of us to avoid the snow this winter. Rather than hibernating until spring, embrace the fun, festive, seasonal spirit and take part in some winter fitness.

You could gather your family and friends and make winter fitness a group thing. Or you could head out into the snow with only yourself and a playful, adventurous attitude. Either way, find a place for fitness in your holiday schedule. Physical activity can help relieve stress and burn off some of those holiday indulgences. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time, or even be particularly strenuous. Evidence shows that even low-intensity exercise has health benefits.

Keep in mind that while physical activity offers a range of health rewards, everyone should proceed at their own pace. If you have been habitually physically inactive, start slowly and gradually add on daily to the amount of exercise you do. If you have health concerns, speak to your health professional about the level or type of activity that is right for you. For extra information on physical fitness, read "Canada’s Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Living" at www.phac-aspc.gc.ca.

Try the following activities. Winter has much to offer – get out there and enjoy the season!

Strap on those skates. Whether you’re skating on a rink, a lake, or canal, make the most of the outdoor skating season. It’s part of the Canadian winter landscape! If you do skate on lakes, canals, or other natural bodies of water, remember that ice can be unpredictable and that you should always check with local authorities in advance about the safety of the ice you’d like to skate on.

Hit the slopes. Snowboarding, downhill skiing, tobogganing… slopes of varying grades provide hours of fun. Ski hills offer ski and snowboard lessons for everyone from beginner level onwards, so the whole family can get involved. And an afternoon of tobogganing can get the heart pumping and the laughter roaring. What better way to top off the holidays?

Ski cross-country. Whether you live in an urban or rural setting, Canada has a wealth of nearby parks and trails just waiting to be explored. Before you venture out, familiarize yourself with appropriate safety precautions. Contact your local cross-country ski organization for more details.

Walk in a winter wonderland. Or, better yet, put on the snowshoes. "Snowshoeing in a winter wonderland" doesn’t have the same ring, but it may be just the way to slow down the holiday pace and appreciate the beauty that the season has to offer – and get some good exercise too!

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2017. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Happy-Healthy-Holidays

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