Staying Healthy in an Arctic Wasteland

Well, isn’t that a dramatic title, hey?

It was -27C (-17F) yesterday. I’m allowed.

I know that although it might not get quite so cold in most parts of North America (and a lot colder in others…hey, we’ve had our share of -50C days), they are dealing with a pretty serious winter for them, which is why I wanted to address staying active when all you really want to do is curl up under 98 blankets.

canadian winter

Don’t try and work out outside! I know what you’re thinking. Emma, you just said you were going to help us stay fit in the cold! Yes, but that doesn’t mean you actually have to exercise in it. Because let’s be honest, here. It’s hard enough to motivate ourselves to work out in a temperature-controlled gym with liquids and aid easily available. Throw in hair-freezing temperatures and skin-destroying wind and the prospect of exercise just got a lot less inviting.


So do yourself a favour: Set yourself up with a couple of dumbbells and a yoga mat, and work out in the comfort of your own home. Get a gym membership. Have JustDance dates at a friends’ house! Try yoga classes. There are infinite possibilities!

And do something fun! I was an alpine ski racer for eleven years, as you know, and spent hours in a downhill suit in -30 degree weather. Was I cold sometimes? You can freaking bet. But my love for the sport made it more than worth the discomfort, and I loved every minute I spent out on the slopes. So whether its skiing, skating, sledding or (gasp) snowboarding, find something you genuinely enjoy doing and you’ll be less bitter about the cold. Health is not just about physical fitness! It’s extremely important to keep yourself mentally sane as well, which can be hard to do with a brain freeze. 😉

podium I’m pretty sure these girls are enjoying themselves on the podium. 

Get fresh air. There’s a ~10  minute walk that I do to/from school every day in addition to my bus route. There is another one I could take that wouldn’t have me walk, but then I literally sit on my butt 17 hours a day. When it’s freezing, try getting outside for just a few minutes a couple of times a day! This, along with the above, really serve to keep you mentally clear. Stuffy rooms = stuffy brains!

ednaLook at what a little fresh air did for Edna!

If you really want to be a polar bear…Props to you. But be smart. I ran once in -15C (5F) and that literally did me in for life. But there’s a guy that comes into the coffee shop I work at that runs in the evenings 4-5 times per week. But he has grips for his shoes, a total face mask, and wears 3+ layers. Don’t be dumb (me) and think that a mesh long-sleeve, cotton leggings and a pair of thin cotton gloves will be enough.

And have an incentive! I’m planning on bribing myself to go on long runs with a latte and a muffin. You can plan a bubble bath, a treat, or even just some time to yourself!

 Do you find it hard to stay healthy in the winter? 


9 thoughts on “Staying Healthy in an Arctic Wasteland

  1. Aarrrrgh I don’t know what you guys are made of over there to be able to survive! I thought I was going to die last winter when we reached our lowest of -1. And when I went out for a horseriding lesson I swear I wore no less than 4 layers of sweaters and wool tights under my breeches!

  2. I don’t know how you guys to do it! The lowest that we’ve had to deal with here is in the teens, and a lot of slushy weather, and I’ve had trouble getting outside. That said, I have totally made use of the gym because I’m training for my third marathon, and I really can’t afford to fall off at this point. I am getting better at entertaining myself while on the treadmill but it’s been rough!

  3. I was talking to a guy in the coffee shop the other day who ran even when it was -30 outside.!!? I won’t even get close to my window when it’s that cold, never mind actually trying to function outside. Brr. Canadians is crazy folk. But yeah this weather has to go. I want to get out on the slopes again!

  4. My fiance and I have been living in a hotel in Toronto, so it’s nice that I don’t have to brave the snow to go to the gym. I can just walk down a few flights of stairs. Since I’m home visiting my parents I have been doing Insanity at home and using dumbbells that they have to avoid having to go outside to go to the gym! It’s way too cold out there!

    Ashley, Married to the Game

  5. We have never had a winter this cold in PA in all my life. I will NOT run in some of these temps. I never thought it would ever be this cold! I belong to a gym and I don’t mind going there, so luckily it is not hard to get my sweat on in the Arctic Wasteland!

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