How to stay active in winter

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Why do we need to stay active?

  1. Some newcomers forget their health in winter because:
    • They have so many things to do. They need to find a house, attend workshops, look for a job and others.
    • There is so much to think about and accomplish every day.
    • It is too cold to go out.

    The result of this is low energy and weight gain. It can also affect mood and resistance to sickness.

  2. According to Manitoba Healthy Living and Seniors, exercise:
    • increases energy
    • helps us handle stress
    • strengthens the heart and lungs
  3. Mild physical activities can:
    • make you fit
    • increase strength
    • contribute to good mental health
  4. Exercising can also help reduce the risk of:
    • early death
    • heart disease
    • stroke
    • high blood pressure
    • certain types of cancer
    • type 2 diabetes
    • osteoporosis (bone disease)
    • obesity

How much exercise should I have?

For adults, 18-64 years old:

  • 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity exercise per week.
  • Each exercise should be 10 minutes or more.
  • Add muscle and bone strengthening activities. Do it at least two days a week.
  • The more physical activities you have, the greater the health benefits (Manitoba Healthy Living and Seniors Physical Activity Guidelines).

Ways to be active in winter months

  1. Include physical activity in your everyday tasks.
    • Walk instead of driving (when possible).
    • Bike (when possible).
    • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
    • Use a standing desk to reduce the amount of time sitting.
    • Shovelling snow is a great moderate physical activity. Don’t do it if you have a heart problem.
    • Read shovelling snow safely from WRHA.
  2. Get your kids active.
    • Enroll in a mom and kid skating class.
    • Take them with you when you go out walking.
    • Let them help you shovel snow from your yard.
    • Encourage them to play in the snow, get into snowball fights, or build snowmen and snow forts. This prevents them from spending too much time on computer games.
    • These are great bonding moments with your kids.
  3. Know what you want to do.
    • Consult your doctor to know what types of exercise are best for you.
    • Don’t buy expensive exercise machines. You’ll get bored with them.
    • Follow exercise videos on the internet if you want to exercise at home.
    • Join a gym if you need a coach.
    • Join a class at your community centre if you exercise better with a group.
    • Join a community walking or running group. These activities are also great for networking.
  4. Set a regular schedule for exercise.
    • Plan your activities a week at a time. Get a calendar and map out your activities for the week.
    • This will help make it a habit for you.
    • Set aside 30 minutes every morning for mild physical activity or yoga.
    • Exercise in the afternoon after work if you have a busy morning.
    • Don’t exercise near your bed time. It will be hard to fall asleep.
  5. Make it an adventure.


  1. Exercise and a good diet work together.
  2. Stay active all year round. Not only in winter.
  3. Make sure that you are properly dressed in winter. Especially if you plan on doing outdoor activities.

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Community Resources

Read the Leisure Guide.

Know the programs in your Community Centre. Ask your neighborhood settlement worker about free activities.

Read Winnipeg in Motion for information about the right kind of physical activities for your age.

Mosaic Newcomer Family Resource Network has free skating lessons in winter.

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