Two kids jumping in snowshoes

5 ways to stay active in the cold

Brrr! Temperatures are dropping, and winter’s icy grip is almost upon us.

We bet you’re feeling just about ready to tuck into a nice, long winter’s hibernation. Not so fast! Outdoor activity is important for our mental and physical health all year long. Getting outside is good for you even when the weather is not ideal.

Ontario Parks has 26 parks open in the winter. Each park offers plenty of ways for you to get active in the chilly months.

Here are some great ways to stay healthy, and enjoy winter!

1. Skate

What could be better than gliding through the trees at one of Ontario Parks’ two skate trails?

Four skaters on ice trail with torch in foreground
Arrowhead Provincial Park

Both Arrowhead and MacGregor Point offer forested skate trails. Skating is also available on large outdoor rinks at Algonquin and Pinery.

Thinking of visiting Arrowhead? Here are some tips for a successful trip.

Skating builds the muscles in your lower body, and helps you get cardio exercise, which is good for heart health.

2. Hike

Is hiking available in the winter? The answer is yes!

Woman hiking at Big bend Lookout in winter
Arrowhead Provincial Park

Hiking can be a bit more challenging in the winter, making it an even better workout. The health benefits of hiking are head-to-toe, including increased cardiovascular health and muscle toning, and decreased stress and anxiety.

How about starting your New Year off with a healthy hike? Taking a First Day Hike promotes a year-long embrace of health and happiness in the outdoors.

3. Cross-country ski

Cross-country skiing makes an amazing winter workout. Skiing is an aerobic exercise, so you can expect better cardiovascular and muscular fitness. It works muscles in both your upper and lower body.

Three cross-country skiers on forested trail
Windy Lake Provincial Park

Nineteen Ontario Parks offer cross-country ski trails with 450+ km of trails, either half groomed or track-set. If you’re looking to rent, cross-country ski rentals are available at Arrowhead, Pinery, Wasaga Beach, and Windy Lake.

Not sure about the conditions? Make sure to check the ski report before heading out!

4. Snowshoe

Snowshoeing is a great option for exploring areas of parks with deep snow in the winter. Explore the La Cloche Mountains in Killarney, see frozen falls at Kakabeka Falls, or traverse pristine, snow-blanketed forests at Silent Lake.

Algonquin Provincial Park

It’s good for you too! Snowshoeing is a challenging cardio workout, and snowshoers can even burn up to 1,000 calories an hour![i]

Don’t have your own pair? Snowshoe rentals are available at Arrowhead, Frontenac, Killarney, Pinery, Wasaga Beach, and Windy Lake.

5. Play in the snow!

Outdoor play is important for children’s health all year long. Playing in the snow provides physical exercise in the winter months.

Kids drawing on ice sculpture
Algonquin Provincial Park

Snow is also a great vehicle for creative play for your kids! They can make snow angels, snow forts, snow people, or whatever else they can imagine!

Looking for a fun snowy activity? Teach your kids how to identify snowflakes!

Ready for your winter adventure?

Don’t forget to dress appropriately for the weather!

Tobogganing at Bronte
Bronte Creek Provincial Park

Use our Park Locator to find a winter wonderland near you. We also have plenty of roofed accommodations to keep you warm and cozy this winter.


[i] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11832869