From year to year, Canadians are no strangers to the winter woes – and it can make our intentions to maintain an active lifestyle even more of a challenge.

This past September, Jack Burnett, editor of the Old Farmer’s Almanac was quoted as saying, “We’re looking at the T-Rex of winters. It’s going to be colder, it’s going to be snowier … it’s not pretty.”

However, Dave Phillips of Environment Canada didn’t quite buy the almanac’s prediction and stated, “This winter is not going to be as long and cold as last year,” he said. “Even if it’s a normal winter, it will feel like a tropical heat wave compared to what we had to endure as Canadians last year.”

Despite the predictions, from coast to coast it has been a box of chocolates. From “Treemagedon” and weeks of plus temperatures in Calgary, to the East coast digging themselves out and temperatures cold enough to cause Niagara Falls to entirely freeze over!

So it’s no surprise that most of us struggle to find motivation to stay active when the skies insist on endless days of grey and miserable mornings scraping car windows. But, I’m here to tell you – you can be friends with winter!

Boost your mood.

It has been said that 15 percent of Canadians suffer from winter related depression – to beat it, find some sunlight, yes – even when it’s 20 below. Plan a lunchtime walk with coworkers, or an afternoon trek with the family on a day off. Just be sure to bask in rays whenever you get a chance, it will make a world of difference!

Stay cool.

Especially in the winter, we are prone to spend time indoors – and that pesky winter weight can easily sneak up. Thankfully, cold weather is actually great for physical activity. The colder the weather, the less heat stress on the body, which makes it much easier to be active.

Save your cash.

With all the bills we already pay, why not find a way to tip the scale in your favor. There is likely a green space or playground right near your home. Get in touch with your youthful side: do some pull-ups on the monkey bars, dips on a park bench and, really, who doesn’t like a good swing every once in a while.

Make it easy.

Chances are the weather will try and thwart your plans to drive to the gym from time to time – perfect! Use this opportunity to change up your routine, breathe in some fresh air, grab a friend (and your toques) and just go for a walk. You might be surprised by how good it feels.  

Challenge yourself.

Now I may be a bit biased, but there’s something to be said about trying something new. Why not get an adrenaline high trying an Olympic Winter Sport – Luge, Bobsled, Skeleton, Skiing, and Biathlon, a quick online search will show you tons of disciplines to discover.

So, while I wouldn’t suggest you throw on a skin tight speed suit like Skeleton Racing requires of me, the fact is: we were made for this. We’re the “True North Strong”! 

Plus, it’s no coincidence that chocolate milk is always best served ice cold.

Get outside and enjoy it!