So you say you love the outdoors? But do you love it no matter the time of year? Falling in love with the outdoors is easy when it’s warm and sunny, but it’s a little harder to get similarly enthused when the wind is cutting through you like a knife, your eyes are smarting, and you’ve lost the feeling in most of your fingers.
Andrew Twigg, owner of Cruising Canoes in North Frontenac, offers outdoor experiences focused on connecting people with the beauty of the outdoors all year long, and particularly in winter. Andrew understands that learning to love the outdoors in winter can be intimidating for those not used to stepping outside their comfort zones, but in his experience, it’s all worth it.
Read Andrew’s tips for how to have a phenomenal winter outdoor experience, even when your nose is running and your cheeks are chilled.
Play While the Sun Shines
The days are shorter in the winter, with darkness falling sometimes as early as 4 p.m. so it’s important to get up and get moving to take advantage of every drop of sunshine you can find. Andrew explains that it’s particularly hard for people who work in an office or building all day.
“You get up and it’s dark, you get to work and it’s dark, so that window of daylight is quite short, especially in winter…you have to take advantage of the sun while you can.”
Baby, it’s cold outside in winter, but one of the best ways to stay warm is to keep moving. Andrew explains that the people who are cold outdoors in winter are those who stand around a lot, and the key is to get moving and be active.
As a solution to this, Andrew keeps his clients moving around doing chores like chopping or gathering wood, and other activities that will keep them warm. “You can’t stop until you’re in that nice warm tent at the end of the day, you’ve got to keep moving.”
Learning to enjoy winter is all about making sure you have the right gear – the right clothing that will keep you snug and dry no matter the weather. The key to warmth is layering and waterproofing. If you’re wet, you’re cold, so keeping dry is paramount when selecting what to wear, especially on your feet.
Andrew agrees. “If you’ve got proper winter attire on and are moving you’ll be warm, and you’ll find a new appreciation for the outdoors.”
Do we really need any encouragement to fill our bellies? When you’re outdoors in winter you are burning more calories just to stay warm so you’ll want to make sure you eat more than normal. This is a good opportunity to dig out those snacks and treats that are high calorie and protein-packed with goodness. Eat frequently, particularly during strenuous activity.
Just being outdoors in winter dehydrates you, so be sure to drink plenty of water, and drink it consistently. And no, eating snow won’t work because your body uses energy to melt the snow (plus, it can actually make you feel colder). If you have run out of water and must eat snow, let it melt in your mouth before swallowing.
Looking for more inspiration for connecting to winter in Ontario’s Highlands? Click here or read the stories below.