Strategies to enjoy the outdoors this winter

Garett Richardson
Public Health Promotion
Alberta Health Services
Winter has taken hold in northern Alberta. For some that may mean it’s time to stay inside until spring. But there are plenty of benefits to enjoying everything the winter season can offer.

At some point many of us begin to loath winter. Instead of embracing snow and the opportunities cold weather can bring, many tend to stay indoors and groan every time we need to head outside.

Living in a winter climate requires embracing the weather to some degree.

There are many winter activities to enjoy in northern Alberta. Skating, sledding, skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, building snowmen, playing hockey and ice fishing are just a few of the activities we have access to. Talk to your community recreation department or visit to find out what is available in your community.

There are some comfort and safety tips to consider before heading out in the winter. Make sure you are dressed properly. Being warm while spending time outdoors makes it much more enjoyable. Dress in warm layers appropriate for the weather along with a warm hat and gloves.

Winter footwear is recommended to keep your toes warm and prevent falling on snow and ice. According to the Injury Prevention Centre, in 2010, falls cost Albertans $1.154 billion.

Injuries from excessive cold weather, such as frostbite and hypothermia, are seen in emergency departments more often in the North Zone than the provincial average. Staying warm and being prepared while outside and/or travelling is important.

A hoodie and baseball cap won’t keep you warm when it’s -30.

Keep a winter emergency kit in your vehicle. In the North Zone we can travel long distances to get where we need to be. If your vehicle breaks down on a lonely stretch of highway with no cell phone coverage, you may get a little chilly.

A winter emergency kit can include things like a candle, matches or lighter, blanket, first aid kit, food, flashlight, shovel and booster cables. These items would help you stay warm in the event of a vehicle breakdown.

For more information on a variety of health related topics, visit or Health advice and information are also available 24/7 by calling Health Link at 811.

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