Winter is the season that is universally loathed among Canadians, yet is as much of a part of our national identify as the Mounties, maple syrup, hockey, and Wayne Gretzky.
November – at least in most parts of our country – means the onset of the cold and snowy months, a period that is guaranteed to stay with us well into March, and perhaps even longer.
Yes, the days are growing shorter and colder, and the prospect of having to travel on roads covered in snow and ice is certainly daunting. Furthermore, instead of being outside for extended periods, something we relish doing during our warm but relatively short summers, we have a tendency to retreat indoors for activity. Yet, there are many aspects to love about winter. And no, I’m not talking merely about hockey.
I have always been very enthusiastic about sports and physical fitness. Now that I’m in my mid-40s, I can’t play sports like I once did. That being said, I hit the gym at least four times a week and make a point to walk every day, even in inclement weather.
It may seem strange to some people, but there are benefits to walking in cold weather. These benefits include burning more calories, boosting brain power, and overall, clearing one’s head, which if you sit in an office all day, can seem like a godsend. Furthermore, while summer temperatures, with all the heat and humidity that accompany them, can make us feel tired, the cold can be downright rejuvenating.
Our own neck of the woods (the Lakeland Region) becomes an outdoor paradise in the winter months, with an abundance of snow creating opportunities for snowmobiling, cross-country and downhill skiing, and my favourite winter activity next to walking - snowshoeing. I can tell you from personal experience that there’s nothing quite like hitting the local trails on a crisp though sunny winter’s day with my snowshoes. Not only is this great exercise, but the forest is a particularly beautiful sight to behold when the ground and trees are covered in snow.
We can’t forget winter festivals, the kind that feature all manner of exciting events held both indoors and outdoors. These festivals are another way of breaking up the monotony that sets in during these months of cold and darkness, when many people instinctively remain indoors.
Speaking of festivals, Christmas is undoubtedly the most well-known holiday of the winter season. This time of the year is filled with merriment and getting together with friends and loved ones to socialize and, best of all, a change to indulge in a superfluity of sweets of every description!
Love it or hate it, winter is here, at least for those of us who lack the means to escape to warmer southern climes until spring. While we have the option to hide indoors for the next few months, I say embrace the season and make the most of it.